Philly’s Dechert law firm settles discrimination claims

The giant Dechert law firm, founded in Philadelphia in 1875, has agreed to settle charges it fired two workers from its payroll department because of their age and gender.

The two employees, a 58-year-old senior payroll manager with 28 years of experience with the firm, and a 55-year-old payroll manager who had been on staff for 26 years, were terminated in October 2016.

They filed an EEOC complaint alleging that leaders in the accounting department had made derogatory comments about older women in the workplace. They noted that they were the two oldest women in payroll.

Dechert countered that a new cloud computing system rendered the women’s positions unnecessary.

The EEOC issued right-to-sue letters to the women in August 2017. The women’s lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, sought compensatory damages for lost earnings as well as pain and suffering, liquidated damages and punitive damages.

The parties agreed to a confidential settlement before the case went to trial.