One might like to believe that, since lawyers and other legal professionals know the law and are duty-bound to follow it, they would never find themselves in a workplace that fosters discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Regrettably, this is far from the truth. In fact, lawyers and law firms are some of the worst offenders and violators of California and federal employment laws. Unfortunately, the high-stress, often unhealthy, alcohol-and-drug-fueled lifestyles in many law firms can breed inappropriate and sometimes downright illegal conduct, which is perpetuated when law firm management attempts to sweep such problems under the rug. While pretending such problems do not exist may help the firm’s reputation, it does nothing to put an end to the horrible abuses that occur inside these firms.
Law firms, and particularly large law firms, often breed outdated, toxic cultures that focus on keeping junior attorneys and other legal professionals working for abusive bosses and late into the night to ensure clients are billed as much as possible, even when such billing is unduly excessive. With the number of work-related parties and events involving alcohol and other illicit drugs, substance abuse is also a serious concern, so much so that the State Bar of California has put in place ethical guidelines and programs to curb substance abuse in the profession and its deleterious consequences on the lives of lawyers and legal staff.
Cases brought by law firm attorneys, in-house counsel, and legal staff often involve discrimination and harassment against female, pregnant, and LGBTQ legal professionals, as well as retaliation against attorneys and other legal professionals for reporting or opposing unethical or illegal practices, such as overbilling and malpractice. And law firms’ and in-house legal departments’ unlawful conduct does not stop at discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Legal employers often severely underpay and misclassify their employees as exempt when they are not, thus forcing support professionals to work significant amounts of overtime without being fairly compensated.
Since its inception, Dhillon Law Group has helped attorneys and other legal professionals (both in law firms and in house) in cases of sexual harassment, race and gender discrimination, retaliation, and misclassification. Standing up to law firms and other legal employers, particularly some of the largest firms and companies in the country, is not for the faint of heart. Dhillon Law Group’s record of success handling these matters – and its attorneys’ experience having worked in law firms large and small – uniquely positions it to be able to fight lawyers, law firms, and companies who shirk their responsibilities to provide a workplace free of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. If you are a lawyer or legal professional concerned about an unhealthy work environment, please feel free to reach out to us to see how we can help.
John Paul S. Deol is Senior Counsel with Dhillon Law Group Inc., and handles employment litigation and counseling.