Paralegal’s discrimination suit alleges Jones Day partner threatened her with toy gun

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A Haitian-born paralegal’s discrimination lawsuit against Jones Day has alleged that she was held to a different standard than white staff members in the firm's Boston office.

Fired paralegal Judy Thomas says she was given more work than white staffers and was then belittled for working overtime to complete it, Law360 reports in a story noted by Above the Law.

Thomas’ state court lawsuit, filed Feb. 2, was removed to Massachusetts federal court Feb. 12.

“A simple review of the demographics of the firm’s support staff will reveal that the firm prefers young white women,” the lawsuit says.

Thomas earned base pay of $77,000 per year in the firm’s tax and real estate group, the suit says. With overtime, she made $100,000. The group “displayed an attitude that Ms. Thomas was faking the need to work overtime because she is Black and poor,” the suit says.

Thomas complained to the office administrator and then to human resources, causing the “hostile and intimidating work environment” to worsen, the suit says.

One lawyer, knowing that Thomas has a fear of guns, went so far as to threaten Thomas with a wooden toy gun that he kept in his desk drawer, the suit alleges.

She was hired by the firm in July 2016. Thomas was fired in February 2018, purportedly for lying in a meeting. But according to the suit, Thomas had been sarcastic when she admitted lying.

“No matter what I say, I’m always a liar anyway,” Thomas had said, according to the suit. “But your associates always tell the truth. OK, fine. I was lying. Either way, you’re using this as a ploy to get me fired, so it really doesn’t matter what I say.”

Jones Day released this statement: “There is no factual or legal basis for these claims, and we’ll prove as much in court.”

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