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Yolanda Young Airs Her Grievances in Court

Remember Yolanda Young (whom we've previously written about here and here), the former Covington & Burling staff attorney who exposed what she called the "Jim Crow"-like practices of her former employer in this Huffington Post story? Now, The American Lawyer reports that Ms. Young is airing her grievances in another forum: the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

In this 100-page court filing, Young alleges that she endured a hostile work environment rife at Covington, with ethnic and racial slurs made by white staff attorneys. But Young says that when she complained, her supervisors retaliated by "subjecting her to increased, unwarranted scrutiny, falsely accusing her of overbilling, and commanding her to work off the clock." Young, who earned $130,000 in 2006, also argues that she received smaller bonuses than her white colleagues. 

But in a response to an EEOC charge, which preceded the lawsuit, Covington refuted Young's claims. Covington explained that many of Young's claims suggest that she misunderstood the role of a staff attorney -- for example, staff attorneys are not entitled to promotions or bonuses and their job description does not include substantive work. As for the racist comments, Covington says the slurs that Young identified (such as a lawyer's reference to having had a "pet monkey") were not intended to be racially offensive.

Any thoughts on the lawsuit? Was the disparate treatment that Young suffered -- such as increased scrutiny and a lower bonus -- racially-motivated or a simple consequence of her status as a staff attorney?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on February 26, 2009 at 03:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)


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