Orange County Employment Attorney:
A big law firm with an office in Orange County, Greenberg Traurig LLP, and one its former attorneys, Francine Griesing, will move towards mediation to settle claims in a $200 million class action case involving sex discrimination. Griesing has claimed that the firm has systemically discriminated against female shareholders in regard to pay as well as business increasing opportunities and referrals within the firm. Women are also, allegedly, prevented from attaining higher level management positions.
Mediation will take place either in the Southern District of New York or the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Both parties expect the mediation to be completed within 70 days. The appropriate court still has not been decided on.
Griesing had previously worked at the Greenburg firm’s office in Philadelphia from April 2007 to January 2010 and in September 2009 she had launched a three year long investigation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In 2012, the commission found reasonable cause to believe the allegations of sex discrimination that Griesing had brought up in her complaint.
The complaint said: “While the firm advertises a commitment to equal opportunity for female attorneys, the reality is far different…Greenberg Traurig’s Philadelphia office, where plaintiff Griesing worked, exemplifies the firm’s broad-based and ingrained sexism.”
Greenburg argues against Griesing’s claims, stating that the firm has continued to hire, retain, and promote women within the firm over the years. Greenburg filed a suit in Pennsylvania court in December to compel arbitration, as it is required in Griesing’s shareholder agreement to do so. If the case is taken to an arbitrator, the case must go either to Philadelphia or Miami, where the Greenberg Traurig headquarters is located.
Image: Greenberg Traurig LLP