Labor & Employment

Law Firm Partner Loses Lawsuit Over Pay & Alleged Strip Club Outings

A federal judge has dismissed a suit filed by a female partner of a Pennsylvania law firm over alleged pay discrimination and sexually explicit work-related activities.

U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab ruled that plaintiff Alyson Kirleis, a 46-year-old partner of Dickie McCamey & Chilcote, can’t continue with her 2006 action against the Pittsburgh firm because, as a partner, she is an employer rather than an employee covered by anti-discrimination laws, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Kirleis’ lawyer says she plans to appeal the dismissal. Although he declines to discuss any potential appellate arguments, Kirleis argued in U.S. District Court that the firm’s board, of which she is a voting member, is essentially a “rubber stamp” for the executive committee, which controls attorney pay and work assignments.

Kirleis also contended in the suit that she was excluded from firm functions including its Christmas party because the events allegedly include sexually explicit entertainment and are followed by strip club outings.

A lawyer for the firm couldn’t be reached by the newspaper for comment.

Kirleis has worked at the firm since earning her law degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1988.

Additional and related coverage:

Associated Press: “Judge nixes Pa. atty’s bias suit as ‘employer’ “ “Partner Won’t Have to Arbitrate Bias Claim against Law Firm, 3rd Circuit Rules”

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (2006): “Lawyer sues her Downtown firm”

ABA Journal (2005): “Who is a Partner?”

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