Former DLA Piper Partner Claims Pregnancy Led to Firing
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A former partner at DLA Piper’s office in Liverpool, England told a UK employment tribunal Monday that she was sexually discriminated against when the firm fired her after she became pregnant.

Multiple reports out of England say Sarah Sweeney, a former real estate partner, dubbed the firm an “old boys’ club” in her testimony and that Philip Rooney, the managing partner of the Liverpool office, said “women who have children should not return to work.” Additionally, Sweeney accused a senior partner of slapping her rear end after she thwarted his advances.

Sweeney was fired in November 2008 while three months pregnant. She had been at the firm for over a decade.


DLA Piper vehemently denied the allegations in a statement to the British tabloids. “We strongly contest the allegations that have been made by Sarah in this case and will be calling evidence to rebut all aspects of her claim.”

The firm claims Sweeney was fired as part of a restructuring designed to save money during the economic downturn. Gavin Mansfield represented DLA Piper before the tribunal.  He called Sweeney’s claims “exaggerated” and that they are designed to bolster her case. Mansfield added that when the firm needed to cut senior staff, her performance had made her the “most dispensable.”

“You were a good worker and well thought of,” Mansfield said. “But when hard times came, you were found to be the most dispensable.

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The hearing is slated to continue.

DLA Piper is one of the largest law firms in the world with more than 3,700 lawyers in North America and Europe.


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