US law firm settles discrimination claim by female payroll professionals US law firm settles discrimination claim by female payroll professionals

US law firm settles discrimination claim by female payroll professionals
27 Mar 2018

US law firm Dechert LLP has agreed to settle claims made by a pair of female ex-payroll staffers who accused the company of a “boys club” mentality and attested they were fired on the basis of their age and gender.

The settlement ends claims that Dechert violated state and federal discrimination laws when it laid off Patricia Gindhart and Dana Dudek in October 2016 when moving to a cloud-based application to manage finance and HR.

According to Law 360, Gindhart, who was 57 when she lost her job, and Dudek, who was 54, filed suit in Pennsylvania federal court in November, claiming the firm had encouraged a “boys club” mentality that led to their termination. Both had worked for the firm for more than 25 years.

They alleged that Anthony Licata, who initially served as the firm’s chief financial officer and then as chief operating officer, referred to long-term female employees as “cows” who only remained at Dechert because they were unable to find jobs elsewhere. They also alleged that male employees in their 20s and 30s were given bigger pay increases and merit bonuses than their female counterparts.

The firm said in its response to the complaint that the firing of the two women had nothing to do with their ages or gender. Instead it claimed that the outsourcing of its payroll functions had left it requiring fewer in-house workers.

While Dechert admitted retaining a group of younger employees on staff, including the two other workers in the payroll department, it claimed the pair handled transactional and clerical payroll tasks. The outsourcing, it said, meant there was no need for management-level employees in payroll.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

US law firm Dechert LLP has agreed to settle claims made by a pair of female ex-payroll staffers who accused the company of a “boys club” mentality and attested they were fired on the basis of their age and gender.

The settlement ends claims that Dechert violated state and federal discrimination laws when it laid off Patricia Gindhart and Dana Dudek in October 2016 when moving to a cloud-based application to manage finance and HR.

According to Law 360, Gindhart, who was 57 when she lost her job, and Dudek, who was 54, filed suit in Pennsylvania federal court in November, claiming the firm had encouraged a “boys club” mentality that led to their termination. Both had worked for the firm for more than 25 years.

They alleged that Anthony Licata, who initially served as the firm’s chief financial officer and then as chief operating officer, referred to long-term female employees as “cows” who only remained at Dechert because they were unable to find jobs elsewhere. They also alleged that male employees in their 20s and 30s were given bigger pay increases and merit bonuses than their female counterparts.

The firm said in its response to the complaint that the firing of the two women had nothing to do with their ages or gender. Instead it claimed that the outsourcing of its payroll functions had left it requiring fewer in-house workers.

While Dechert admitted retaining a group of younger employees on staff, including the two other workers in the payroll department, it claimed the pair handled transactional and clerical payroll tasks. The outsourcing, it said, meant there was no need for management-level employees in payroll.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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