Labor & Employment

Former BigLaw secretary's pregnancy bias suit allowed to proceed on some claims


A former secretary at Latham & Watkins who alleges pregnancy discrimination by the law firm will be allowed to proceed with some of her claims.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., allowed the former employee, Demetria Peart, to continue with claims alleging violations of Title VII and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act, according to The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer indicated, however, that she didn’t dismiss the human rights claim because she needed more information from the parties on whether she had jurisdiction.

Peart had claimed Latham fired her in January 2008 because she took disability leave to deal with complications from her pregnancy. Peart claims the human resources manager fired her in a phone conversation in which he said Peart’s pregnancy complications were not his problem. When Peart reached out to others, the suit alleges, she learned the manager had told others she was fired because of a “damn 13 weeks for morning sickness.”

The D.C. Office of Human Rights had found that Peart was delinquent in responding to Latham’s request for information about her ability to return to work, according to Collyer’s opinion (PDF). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a right-to-sue letter in April.

Collyer dismissed several other claims, however, the story says, including claims for a hostile work environment, breach of contract and emotional distress.

Latham says it plans to vigorously defend the remaining claims.

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