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Class-Action Settlement Reached to Resolve University Pay Equity Allegations

NEW YORK, Oct. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Outten & Golden LLP and Syracuse University announced a class-action settlement to resolve allegations of compensation discrimination raised by five female faculty members. Under the settlement agreement, the University will pay $3,713,000 to resolve the claims. This settlement does not represent an admission of any liability on the part of Syracuse University.

In a class action complaint filed today, the five female faculty members allege that the university-wide compensation and promotion policies and practices had an adverse impact on them and other female colleagues.

“We are pleased that Syracuse has agreed to resolve the claims, and the settlement will provide meaningful relief to our clients and other female faculty,” said Deirdre A. Aaron of Outten & Golden.

Syracuse University is committed – at all levels, across all faculty and staff positions – to providing an equitable and supportive work environment,” says Senior Vice President for Academic Operations Steve Bennett. “We continue to work closely with academic leadership to ensure salaries are commensurate with every faculty member’s job responsibilities, efforts and accomplishments, regardless of gender.”

CONTACTS: Adam T. Klein or Deirdre A. Aaron, Outten & Golden, 516.261.6080 or [email protected].

About Outten & Golden LLP

Outten & Golden LLP focuses on advising and representing individuals in employment, partnership, and related workplace matters both domestically and internationally. The firm counsels individuals on employment and severance agreements; handles complex compensation and benefits issues (including bonuses, equity agreements, and partnership interests); and advises professionals (including doctors and lawyers) on contractual issues. It also represents employees with a wide variety of claims, including discrimination and harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, disability, national origin, religion, and age, as well as retaliation, whistleblower, and contract claims. The firm handles class actions involving a wide range of employment issues, including economic exploitation, gender- and race-based discrimination, wage-and-hour violations, violations of the WARN Act, and other systemic workers’ rights issues. 

Outten & Golden has nine practice groups: Executives & Professionals, Financial Services, Sexual Harassment & Sex Discrimination, Family Responsibilities & Disability Discrimination, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer (LGBTQ) Workplace Rights, Discrimination & Retaliation, Whistleblower Retaliation, Class & Collective Actions, and WARN Act. 

Outten & Golden has offices in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

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Outten & Golden LLP: Former U.S. Department of Justice Employee Wins Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A Washington, D.C. federal-court jury awarded a longtime U.S. Department of Justice employee $445,000 in her gender discrimination lawsuit against the government, the law firm Outten & Golden LLP announced today.

After a five-day trial, the jury sided with Debra Stoe, who worked for the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), a DOJ agency, for 20 years. Stoe alleged she repeatedly was passed over for promotions in favor of less qualified and less accomplished men.

Stoe’s professional achievements included development of standards and testing required to ensure that law enforcement equipment and technology such as bulletproof vests is safe and effective.

In evidence presented at trial, Stoe’s supervisors recognized that she “revolutionized” the standards and testing program, and that she was “singularly responsible” for “moving it into the modern era.” Stoe was credited with saving the government “millions” of dollars and saving “countless lives” of law enforcement officers.

Outten & Golden Partner Susan E. Huhta said, “This case involved blatant gender discrimination by the federal government. We are grateful the jury rejected the government’s specious defense. The verdict is a complete vindication of an exemplary employee.”

Outten & Golden Partner Cassandra W. Lenning said, “The trial made clear the impact of Ms. Stoe’s work. On the final day of the trial, a former supervisor of Ms. Stoe’s thanked her from the stand and credited her with saving his police officer son’s life. His son was hit by a speeding car, and the bulletproof vest he was wearing saved his life.”

Debra Stoe said, “My career meant the world to me. The work I did was important. I hoped the DOJ hiring system would be fair, but the evidence showed it was not. I felt strongly that we had to take a stand against how the DOJ too often disregards women. The importance of the #MeToo movement really hits home when you see people like me whose hard work, superior qualifications, and experience were so casually and consistently overlooked. We showed that people and the DOJ hiring system were manipulated by the discriminator. I’m grateful for the jury’s findings.”

Huhta added, “Debra Stoe’s courage should serve as an inspiration to all women in the workplace. This verdict sends a message to all employers that discrimination in the workplace will not be tolerated, especially in the federal government.”

The case is “Stoe v. Garland,” Case 1:16-cv-01618-JDB in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

CONTACTS: Susan E. Huhta and Cassandra W. Lenning, Outten & Golden, 516.261.6080 or [email protected].

About Outten & Golden LLP
Outten & Golden LLP focuses on advising and representing individuals in employment, partnership, and related workplace matters both domestically and internationally. The firm counsels individuals on employment and severance agreements; handles complex compensation and benefits issues (including bonuses, equity agreements, and partnership interests); and advises professionals (including doctors and lawyers) on contractual issues. It also represents employees with a wide variety of claims, including discrimination and harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, disability, national origin, religion, and age, as well as retaliation, whistleblower, and contract claims. The firm handles class actions involving a wide range of employment issues, including economic exploitation, gender- and race-based discrimination, wage-and-hour violations, violations of the WARN Act, and other systemic workers’ rights issues.

Outten & Golden has nine practice groups: Executives & Professionals, Financial Services, Sexual Harassment & Sex Discrimination, Family Responsibilities & Disability Discrimination, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer (LGBTQ) Workplace Rights, Discrimination & Retaliation, Whistleblower Retaliation, Class & Collective Actions, and WARN Act.

Outten & Golden has offices in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

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SOURCE Outten & Golden LLP

Arjuna Capital Shareholder Resolution: Microsoft Needs Independent and Transparent Investigation of Gender Discrimination, Sexual Harassment

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In the wake of recent allegations of sexual misconduct on the job by former CEO Bill Gates, Microsoft’s shareholder meeting in December 2021 will face a proxy resolution from investment management firm Arjuna Capital urging the software giant to “independently investigate and confront … transparently claims of sexual harassment and gender discrimination” dating back to at least 2012.

The Arjuna Capital resolution is available online here.

Natasha Lamb, managing partner, Arjuna Capital, said: “Microsoft is under intense public scrutiny due to numerous claims of sexual harassment and an alleged failure to address them adequately and transparently. Reports of Bill Gates’ alleged inappropriate relationships and sexual advances towards Microsoft employees have only exacerbated concerns, putting in question the culture set by top leadership, and the board’s role holding those culpable accountable. Investors are concerned Microsoft may be facing a culture of systemic sexual harassment, putting at risk the company’s ability to attract and retain talent.”

According to the Arjuna Capital shareholder resolution: “In 2012, a class-action lawsuit was brought by 238 Microsoft workers alleging gender discrimination and sexual harassment, noting Microsoft’s human resources team continuously overlooked and denied these allegations, only deeming one as founded. Claims resurfaced in April 2019 after several women activated a company-wide email chain claiming Microsoft disregarded such complaints. With mounting internal pressure, Chief Executive Satya Nadella announced Microsoft would change its human resource processes, commit to publish(ing) internal reports on data of investigations, and form a Global Employee Relations team to guide employees through investigations. As of 2020, Microsoft employees stated that internal reports had yet to be seen and that they were unaware of the newly formed team.”

Action by Microsoft would not only be the right thing for employees; it also could directly advance the bottom line for shareholders. The Arjuna Capital resolution notes that “sexual harassment and gender discrimination can harm shareholder value—resulting in higher turnover, lower productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher sick-leave costs.”

Data cited in the Arjuna Capital shareholder resolution includes the following:

  • A recent academic study found companies with the highest incidences of sexual harassment claims underperformed the US stock market by 19.9 percent the subsequent year.
  • Companies that experienced a high number of allegations also saw a decline in Return on Equity of 10.9 percent, and labor costs rose 7 percent.
  • A Harvard Business Review study found a single sexual harassment claim can make a company seem less equitable and more problematic than financial misconduct or fraud and would “be enough to dramatically shape public perception of a company and elicit perceptions of structural unfairness.”

Arjuna Capital is an investor champion of workplace concerns for minorities and women. In the 2020 proxy season, Arjuna Capital submitted a total of 13 shareholder resolutions seeking median race and gender pay gap disclosure, and an additional four in 2021. Since 2016, Arjuna has compelled gender pay equity disclosures at 22 companies, and racial pay equity disclosures at 17 companies, including leading U.S. tech, finance, and retail firms Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Starbucks, Nike, and Adobe.

Arjuna Capital is a sustainable and impact investment firm that works with high-net-worth individuals, families, and institutions to invest their assets with a lens toward Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) risk and opportunity. Natasha Lamb and Arjuna Capital have been recognized for using shareholder resolutions to promote racial and gender pay equity in the tech, banking, and retail sectors. Lamb was named to the “Bloomberg 50” list of influencers who defined global business in 2017. For more information, visit www.Arjuna-Capital.com.

Contacts

MEDIA CONTACT: Alexander Frank, (703) 276-3264 or [email protected]