Just weeks after sexual assault allegations within the ranks of law firm DLA Piper surfaced, a former human resources manager at the firm says she was fired shortly after complaining about an ex-managing partner’s conduct. The ex-HR manager, who remains unnamed, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Monday alleging gender discrimination, hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and retaliation. The former manager said she was fired weeks after complaining that she and other female employees at the firm’s Palo Alto branch were afraid of being alone with then-managing partner Louis Lehot. She was allegedly told that Lehot brought in “substantial fees” for DLA Piper.
The ex-manager also said Lehot likely spread rumors about three of his subordinates having affairs with him, including Vanina Guerrero, a junior partner who alleged she was sexually assaulted four times by her boss. Lehot also allegedly paid his assistant extra to tolerate his angry outbursts and harassment. The former manager asked the EEOC to investigate the firm on a class-action basis for all female employees who worked DLA Piper’s Palo Alto, Sacramento, and San Francisco offices.
“How many more women must come forward with tales of abuse by Louis Lehot before DLA Piper stops retaliating against female employees who dare report misconduct by male partners?” Jeanne Christensen, a lawyer for the ex-manager, said in a statement. “The era of DLA Piper protecting its male rainmaking partners at the expense of the physical and emotional safety of the firm’s female employees must come to an end.”