Law Firms

BigLaw firm resolves pay bias claim over bonuses paid at predecessor firm

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Locke Lord has agreed to pay $150,000 to resolve allegations that a predecessor law firm discriminated against 22 female associates by paying them lower bonuses than their male colleagues.

The discrimination happened during 2012 to 2014 at Locke Lord’s Providence, Rhode Island, office, according a press release and conciliation agreement. At that time, Edwards Wildman Palmer operated the office; the two law firms merged in January 2015.

Law360 has coverage of the agreement.

The discrimination was discovered during a routine compliance evaluation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. Locke Lord was subject to the review because it is a government contractor that received $4.9 million in payments from federal contracts from fiscal years 2016 to 2020.

The $150,000 settlement fund consists of $125,000 in back pay and $25,000 in interest.

Locke Lord did not admit discrimination in the conciliation agreement.

The law firm gave this statement to the ABA Journal: “The U.S. Department of Labor and Locke Lord have cooperatively resolved this matter arising from bonus payments made in one Edwards Wildman office during the time frame of January 2012 through March 2014, before the merger with Locke Lord. The firm maintained its position that these allegations are meritless, and the firm and the DOL voluntarily entered into a conciliation agreement to resolve them. Diversity and inclusion are integral parts of Locke Lord’s strategic plan for success and one of our core values, and the firm is committed to ensuring that all of our attorneys and staff are afforded equal employment opportunities.”

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