Law Firms

Fried Frank Secretary Alleges Firm Discriminated Against Older Staffers in Layoffs

A former secretary at Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson claims in a revised lawsuit that the firm discriminated against older staffers and those who had taken family or medical leave in 2008 layoffs.

Judith Cuttler, who is in her early 60s, was one of at least eight secretaries who lost their jobs, the American Lawyer reports. Cuttler, a 23-year employee, had received several commendations for her work, but complaints began to surface in 2006 when the firm began planning layoffs, Cuttler claims in the suit filed in Manhattan federal court.

Two lawyers complained Cuttler was “too friendly and inappropriately personal,” according to the allegations reported in the American Lawyer. Others said Cuttler was doing personal work at the office or speaking too loudly on her cell phone. A law clerk said she didn’t like the way Cuttler informed callers about her whereabouts.

In 2007, Cuttler took four months off to care for her father. The next year, when she was laid off, Fried Frank said the cuts were due to economic conditions, even as it promoted partners in the department said to be most affected by the recession, according to the suit.

A second former secretary has also sued Fried Frank, the story says. Other former employees who have sued include a document clerk who says she was denied medical leave and a former associate who says she was harassed because she is a lesbian.

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