Law Firms

Former BigLaw paralegal claims she was fired for reporting comment about too-tight pants

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A paralegal has filed a retaliation lawsuit against McGuireWoods that claims that she was fired for reporting an office administrator’s complaint about the pants that she was wearing.

Mia Marie Vecchio, a former paralegal in McGuireWoods’ Pittsburgh office, filed the federal suit Monday, Law360 reports.

Vecchio says employee John Beck complained about her pants in an Oct. 11, 2018, meeting even though he was not her supervisor.

During the meeting, Beck told Vecchio that she had worn leggings that were too tight two days before, and they violated the law firm’s dress code.

Vecchio replied that she had worn dress pants, not leggings, and she was wearing the same pants during the meeting, the suit says. She told Beck that she had several pairs of the same pants, and she had worn them at least two days per week since she began her employment with the law firm nearly a year before.

Vecchio also told Beck that most of the firm’s female staff members wore the same or similar pants, according to the suit.

Beck allegedly told Vecchio that, even if that was true, he was walking behind her on another day, and he noticed that her pants “were too tight for her body.”

After leaving Beck’s office, Vecchio reported the incident to a human resources officer. She worked at home the next day, with permission, and when she returned, no one from her department would talk to her, according to the suit.

Vecchio began to receive less work, and most of her emails went unanswered, the suit says. She was later informed by human resources that the “situation” with Beck had been resolved, and “no further action would be taken, nor was it necessary.”

Vecchio was transferred to the mortgages and portfolio department, “which is notorious among employees for having the worst hours and being the most difficult job and working environment,” the suit says.

Vecchio says she was told that, if she could not handle her new duties, then “she should update her resumé.” Vecchio was fired in November 2018, without being given a reason for the termination.

Vecchio says she reported Beck’s comments to human resources because of her concern that the remarks were sexual harassment or sexually disparaging, and the report was protected activity. She alleges retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Pennsylvania human relations law, the suit says.

McGuireWoods did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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