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Former Legal Assistant Alleges Sexual Discrimination and Retaliation at Edgar Snyder and Associates
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In a recent federal lawsuit filed on December 29, Marilyn Chavez, a former legal assistant at Edgar Snyder and Associates, has accused the law firm and its CEO, Armand Leonelli, of sexual discrimination and retaliation. The lawsuit claims that Chavez was terminated from her position shortly after filing a sexual harassment complaint against Leonelli.

Allegations Against Armand Leonelli

The court filing details numerous instances of inappropriate behavior by Mr. Leonelli, including regular misogynistic remarks and unwarranted sexual advances toward female employees. Chavez, who became a target of these advances in mid-2022, describes a persistent pattern of unwanted flirtatious behavior that she attempted to deter with a professional demeanor.

Harassing and Intimidating Actions

The lawsuit outlines a series of harassing and intimidating actions, such as Mr. Leonelli allegedly staring inappropriately at Chavez and initiating physical contact by blocking her path in the hallway or elevator. One specific incident highlighted in the filing occurred in the office cafeteria, where Mr. Leonelli allegedly made a suggestive comment about what he believed Chavez and her coworkers were discussing.

  
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Unfavorable Treatment at After-Work Happy Hour

The filing recounts an incident during an after-work happy hour in July, where Mr. Leonelli reportedly berated Chavez for not consuming alcohol and declined to sit at a table next to him when instructed to do so. The lawsuit alleges that these incidents created a hostile work environment.

Retaliation Following Complaint to HR

Chavez contacted the law firm’s human resources department one week after the July incident, providing a written statement detailing months of troubling interactions. She also discussed these issues with a human resources employee on a video call. According to the lawsuit, the day after she spoke with HR, Chavez received notice that the investigation into her complaint had concluded and was deemed unfounded. Subsequently, she was terminated from her position.

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Termination of Others Involved in Investigation

The lawsuit further claims that “one or more additional female employees” were also fired due to their participation in the investigation. The law firm, in response, has affirmed its commitment to providing a safe and respectful workplace and expressed confidence in the justice system.

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In a statement, the law firm said, “While we vehemently disagree with the depiction of events in the filing, we respect the legal process. Because of our belief in the justice system, we are optimistic a favorable outcome for our firm will result when a comprehensive picture of the facts is presented.” The case highlights employees’ ongoing challenges in addressing workplace harassment and discrimination issues.

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