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Second suit accuses law firm of sexism, toxic work environment

New York residents interested in business news or employment issues might want to know about the lawsuit and allegations levied at a Washington, D.C., law firm called Jones Day. One suit brought by a former partner alleges that the firm uses a system to pay women less than their male peers. A second suit filed on April 3 addressed the compensation system and a "fraternity culture" that harms women.

Six plaintiffs are involved in the second suit that alleges a toxic, misogynistic culture that women must endure and take part in to have any hope at doing well within the firm. Objecting to the culture would reportedly derail one's career. The suit seeks $200 million in damages.

According to the claim, one managing partner made salary and promotion decisions based on an evaluation process designed to push women out. Different excuses would be used to keep women from advancing while male partners and employees would encourage drinking and dancing at holiday parties, mock women's activities and ogle female workers.

In one incident at a different Jones Day office, a female associate was reportedly pushed into a swimming pool while at a partner's home for an event. The woman wore a white dress, and the male associate who pushed her was high-fived and applauded by higher-level employees.

Hypothetical claims similar to these that allege a so-called "boys will be boys" environment and a "boy's club" that passes over and objectifies women could qualify as a hostile workplace. This is a form of sexual harassment, and one could file a claim for issues like harassment, the improper handling of such claims by human resources or executives, or retaliation that punishes an employee who speaks out against inappropriate behavior. Employees may wish to consult an attorney when proceeding with a lawsuit.

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