A former female shareholder at Greenberg Traurig filed a $200 million gender discrimination suit against the firm Monday, claiming that it denied equal pay and advancement opportunities to its women attorneys.
Francine Griesing, who joined Greenberg Traurig in 2007, says that members of the firm’s all-male compensation committee told her that male shareholders needed more money because they had families to support. Firm management also allegedly told Griesing that she was “lucky to have a job,” and that it was “unseemly” to complain about her salary.
“Although Ms. Griesing was an exceptional performer at the firm, she was discriminatorily denied the compensation, promotions, support and rewards enjoyed by the firm’s less productive and less competent male shareholders,” Sanford Heisler, the firm defending Griesing, said in a statement. According to Griesing, she was fired in 2009 for repeatedly voicing those concerns to firm CEO Richard Rosenbaum. She is seeking class action status for her suit.
In 2009, Griesing filed a complaint against her firm with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which subsequently concluded in June 2012 that there was “reasonable cause” to support her allegations that the firm treated women less favorably than their male counterparts, according to Sanford Heisler’s statement.
Greenberg Traurig, meanwhile, has denied the charges. Hillarie Bass, a firm shareholder, said in a statement that Griesing’s suit is a “financially motivated publicity stunt without merit, backed by neither fact nor law,” the Boston Business Journal reports.
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