JoEllen Lyons Dillon has dropped a sex discrimination lawsuit against the Reed Smith law firm in Pittsburgh, a sudden reversal that suggests the parties may have reached a settlement.
Dillon had alleged that the firm routinely paid women associates less, and funneled the most significant work to male attorneys and women who agreed to have sex with members of. Dillon said she refused all such offers and suffered a 50% pay cut when she took time off to give birth to twins.
The firm denied all charges … and that’s likely all anyone will ever know about the allegations. Settlement agreements in cases like this one usually stipulate that neither side may ever comment on the underlying facts or the terms of the settlement.
Note: It often makes financial sense for employers to settle the lawsuits employees and former employees bring. But paying out settlement after settlement suggests there’s a problem bigger than an unusually litigious workforce.
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- When age seems obvious factor, expect lengthy legal process
- Prepare unified defense; ruling may spark more state suits
- Consider uniform, ADEA-compliant severance and rights-waiver releases--even if age isn't factor