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Kelley Drye Responds to Age Discrimination Suit
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Back in January, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed an age discrimination suit against Kelley Drye & Warren for its policy of removing equity from partners when turning 70 years of age. On Monday, the firm responded.

In an answer filed with the Southern District of New York, Kelley Drye claims a lawyer with an equity partnership is not an employee of the firm and thus not entitled to federal employee protections.

The EEOC complaint was filed on behalf of 79-year-old attorney Eugene T. D’Ablemont, who has been with the firm for over 40 years. According to the suit, Kelley Drye requires all partners to give up their ownership interest in the firm at the age of 70. If an attorney continues to work, compensation consists of an annual “bonus” payment that is wholly within the discretion of the firm’s executive committee.

  
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For D’Ablemont, the result has been a drastic cut in compensation since he turned 70 in 2001 despite a similar workload. Additionally, D’Ablemont alleged the firm retaliated against him after he filed a complaint with the EEOC by slashing his bonus from $75,000 to $25,000.

According to the firm’s answer, D’Ablemont and others with partner responsibilities are actually employers and not employees, citing the fact they vote in firm elections and have access to the firm’s financial information.

The firm also claimed D’Ablemont’s was compensated fairly. In the complaint, the firm alleges he claimed to work with clients, though “he does little, if anything, beyond the ministerial act of preparing and sending them a bill.”

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The suit is Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Kelley Drye & Warren, 0655-cv-10. A copy of Kelley Drye’s answer, via the New York Law Journal, can be found here.





 

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