Judge throws out discrimination claims against Covington

Staff attorney said firm policies discriminated against black people

A federal judge has tossed a suit against Covington & Burling that alleged the law firm’s policy of not promoting staff attorneys discriminated against black people.

Yolanda Young, a Georgetown Law graduate the firm hired through its staff attorney program, filed suit against Covington in 2009, claiming that its policy not to promote staff attorneys to more senior positions was biased. Young said because the program employed a disproportionate number of black people, the policy was specifically discriminatory against that race. Young also said the firm retaliated against her for bringing up the racial discrimination issue when it denied her a bonus, fired her and refused to hire her back.

In his ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said Young’s claims “failed to state a genuine issue of material fact.” He also said Young didn’t provide convincing evidence that her dismissal was retaliatory.

“We are gratified by the ruling and regret that a number of our employees and attorneys were the subject of unfair and unfounded accusations,” Covington said in a statement.


Cathleen Flahardy

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