Jones Day, a large international law firm based in the United States with over 43 locations around the world, has been hit with a gender discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed June 19th of 2018 in California Superior Court in San Francisco under the California Private Attorneys General Act by plaintiff Wendy Moore, a former hiring partner of the firm. The lawsuit alleges that Jones Day’s “black box” compensation system violated the California Equal Pay Act as well as the California Labor Code.
Jones Day’s black box compensation system essentially gives managing partners the power to, without any specific formula, decide the salaries of their employees. Essentially, an attorney could have brought millions of dollars in fees to the firm in one fiscal year, but this feat may not even be considered when it comes to that attorney’s salary. The compensation system also forbids employees from divulging their pay to one another, which keeps employees in the dark about who gets paid what and if certain people are paid less for non-business-related reasons. This black box compensation system opens the gateway to unequal pay and discrimination – in this case, gender discrimination.
According to the complaint, Jones Day would retaliate against female attorneys “who have sought to address—or even openly discuss—disparities in compensation.” Allegedly, plaintiff Wendy Moore herself, after making a complaint regarding the pay gap, was fired by the firm only six days thereafter. The environment at Jones Day has been labeled as a “fraternity culture” – dominated by male attorneys who assist each other in reaching partnership and ensure that their female counterparts are paid less and have less opportunity to climb the rungs to partnership.
Discrimination in the workplace is both illegal and unacceptable. Those who feel they are being discriminated against should consider reporting such unlawful conduct to their employer or company’s Human Resources representative. The problem may be fixed from within. If an employee expresses his/her concerns, and the employer fails to address those concerns, the employee may have a claim for discrimination. It’s also prudent to document any and all complaints and responses between you and your employer regarding your concerns.
It’s unfortunate that many employers choose to retaliate against employees who speak out about unlawful conduct. Retaliation against an employee for asserting his/her rights is illegal. Therefore, the plaintiff in this case has an additional retaliation claim against Jones Day.
Leeds Brown Law, P.C., is a New York Employment Law Firm with over 30 years protecting employee rights and fighting against workplace discrimination. If you or anyone you know feels that they are being discriminated against at work, take the legal action necessary to protect your rights and your career. Contact us today via email or by phone at (212) 661-4370 or (516) 873-9550.