Labor & Employment
Lawyers Drugged at Bingham Events, Ex-Associate Says
Posted May 8, 2008 11:08 AM CST
By Martha Neil
A former first-year associate at Bingham McCutchen complains that the law firm didn't do enough to investigate alleged druggings of attorneys by a former employee and/or attendee of firm events and keep its female attorneys safe.
In discrimination complaints filed with state and federal agencies, former associate Michelle Moor says that she was given a date-rape drug at a firm Christmas party last year and that another associate subsequently confided in her that she had been drugged and raped by a firm employee a year or so earlier after another social occasion involving Bingham workers, according to the Boston Globe and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. The other associate allegedly reported the date-rape incident to police, but didn't tell the firm because she was afraid it would adversely affect her promotion chances there, the Globe says.
Moor says she sought emergency room treatment after she began feeling dazed and disoriented at the Christmas party, which was held at a restaurant, although she remembers having only two glasses of wine. She was told at the hospital that her blood contained Tegretol, an antiseizure medication. When mixed with alcohol, it can cause memory loss.
Moor also contends that an employee told her, at a January dinner of this year attended by several other law firm employees, that he enjoyed having sex with unconscious women and knew how to get a date-rape drug. Because he worked in close proximity to her office, she didn't feel safe at work thereafter, she contends, and, although Bingham McCutchen offered to move her to another floor, this would have created problems for her by distancing her from her practice group. The employee who allegedly made these comments has not worked for the firm since February.
As a result of this situation, Moor says, she accepted a job in February, despite "substantial economic consequences," as a litigator at Kotin, Crabtree & Strong in Boston.
Bingham McCutchen says in a written statement that it took Moor's allegations "extremely seriously," fully investigated them and provided personal safety training to its employees in response. It was, however, unable to confirm that an employee gave her a date-rape drug.
Moor, however, contends that more should have been done. She filed against the firm "in the hope it will encourage Bingham McCutchen to respond to and address some pretty serious workplace problems," says her lawyer, Rachel Stroup, who practices in Boston at Zalkind, Rodriguez, Lunt & Duncan.
Her complaints were filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.