Morrison & Foerster LLPCouldn’t Defeat Former Employees’ Maternity Discrimination Suit with Motion for Summary Judgment

On Behalf of | May 13, 2021 | Discrimination

In April of 2018, finance attorneys Joshua Ashley Klayman and Sherry William filed a complaint against their former employer, Morrison & Foerster LLP (“MoFo”), on the basis of gender, maternity, and Title VII discrimination, wrongful termination, unfair competition, and Family Medical Leave Act and Human Rights Law violations. In an order regarding MoFo’s motion for summary judgment in March of this year, a judge for the United States District Court, Northern District of California rejected both women’s retaliation claims, but authorized their pursuit for punitive damages in the above-mentioned areas[1].

Case Facts

Klayman and William allege that they were denied advancement opportunities upon returning from maternity leave. According to the complaint, Klayman took maternity leave on three separate occasions from 2013 to 2018, and despite being the co-founder and chair of the firm’s Blockchain/Smart Contracts Taskforce during this time, her consideration for partnership was deferred twice. Six months after Klayman made a complaint to human resources in 2018, she resigned.

William claims she was “vigorously recruited” by MoFo in 2015 and given a positive annual review in 2016, before the firm found out William was pregnant[2]. Upon her return from maternity leave in 2017, William further alleges her partners stopped assigning her work in the two years that followed and gave reviews which “focused heavily on her lack of billable hours.”[3] MoFo terminated William in 2019 – right after it became public that William would continue the suit without a pseudonym, claims William[4].

The Motherhood Penalty

The motherhood penalty is the phenomenon by which working mothers endure systematic disadvantages in pay, perceived competence, and benefits in the workplace relative to men and childless women[5]. Whether Klayman and William suffered this penalty on behalf of MoFo is up to the courts to decide. However, if you are a victim of discrimination at your workplace, dedicated and experienced lawyers at Makarem & Associates are best placed to handle your claim and help you obtain maximum damages.

Consult with an Accomplished Employment Discrimination Law Firm in California

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Sources:

[1] William et al v. Morrison & Foerster LLP, No. 220 (C.N. 2018)
[2] https://www.law360.com/articles/1319235
[3] William et al v. Morrison & Foerster LLP, No. 220 (C.N. 2018)
[4] https://www.law360.com/articles/1319235
[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motherhood_penalty

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