Q: What are the risks to a company when making a public statement about ongoing employment litigation?
A: A federal judge in Washington, DC recently allowed a pair of married former law firm associates, suing the firm for sex discrimination, to add retaliation claims to their lawsuit for allegedly “false and malicious” statements the firm made about them in an August 2019 press release. See Savignac, et al v. Jones Day, et al, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 19-cv-02443.
By way of background, plaintiffs Julia Sheketoff and Mark Savignac sued Jones Day over a parental leave policy they claimed illegally discriminates against men by offering biological mothers eight more weeks of leave than biological fathers. They also accused the firm of firing Savignac because he challenged the firm’s policy and underpaying Sheketoff because of her sex. After they filed the highly publicized lawsuit in August 2019, the firm circulated a press release about the lawsuit.
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