Employment Discrimination

Lawyers at M&S fight against all forms of workplace discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sex, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, age, disability, and religion. We also help workers who experience retaliation for speaking out against discriminatory workplace practices.

We believe that companies work better when there is true equal opportunity, when they are diverse, and when people from all backgrounds are meaningfully included and welcomed into workplace culture. Whether we are representing individuals or a class, we advocate for systemic changes to improve workplace policies and practices. To discuss your available options, contact us today!

We also represent employees who blow the whistle on fraud. To learn more, go to Fight Fraud Find Justice.

Race Discrimination

Our employee discrimination lawyers represent clients who have endured race discrimination during their employment at major corporations, such as Lockheed, and while serving the public, such as working for the Fire Departments in New York and Chicago.

Founding Partner Cyrus Mehri served as co-lead counsel in two of the largest race discrimination cases in U.S. history. Roberts v. Texaco resulted in a settlement of $176 million for approximately 1,400 African American employees and an outside independent Task Force Chaired by Deval Patrick. He also secured a settlement of $192 million on behalf of 2,200 current and former African American employees of The Coca-Cola Company, in addition to the creation of an outside independent Task Force chaired by Alexis Herman. These cases created a ripple effect in Fortune 500 companies and a renewed commitment to diversity & inclusion. Numerous articles and books have been written about both historic cases.

M&S attorneys also have a long and robust history of helping make the sports industry a more equitable and just place to work and play. Click here to learn more.

Mehri & Skalet continues this tradition of advancing racial justice in the workplace. In addition to class actions, the firm represents African American employees in confidential settlement negotiations with their employers. The firm negotiates monetary relief for our clients as well as changes to employers’ policies and practices to address manifestations of race discrimination and improve the workplace for all employees. Click here to learn more.

Our fight against race discrimination is not limited to the workplace. Retired U.S. District Court Judge U.W. Clemon, who is Of Counsel at the firm, represents Black plaintiffs who are confronting re-segregation of schools in the South. American University professor N. Jeremi Duru, also Of Counsel at the firm, challenges race discrimination in sports. And Partner Ellen Eardley was a senior administrator at the University of Missouri when she founded the Office for Civil Rights & Title IX to confront race, sex, and other forms of discrimination on campus.

Gender Discrimination & Sexual Harassment

Decades before the #MeToo movement, M&S began representing women willing to stand up to sexual harassment, pay discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and the glass ceiling. Our firm continues to fight on behalf of women in every workplace, from corrections officers to financial advisors at major economic institutions. All women deserve equitable treatment, and it is our mission to make sure they receive it.

M&S attorneys are passionate about gender equality. Our firm has worked with the National Council of Women’s Organizations to develop the Women on Wall Street project, an enterprise dedicated to remedying the historic pay disparities impacting women working in the financial sector. Partner Ellen Eardley previously worked at the National Women’s Law Center and founded the Office for Civil Rights & Title IX at the University of Missouri. Recently, Ellen—working alongside attorneys from the National Women’s Law Center and A Better Balance—led a historic pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against Walmart that resulted in a $14 million settlement for a class of pregnant workers nationwide. Click here to read more about the case. M&S also currently represents a class of approximately 2,000 women working in the Cook County Jail Complex in Chicago in a hostile work environment sexual harassment class action.

Lawyers at M&S have had remarkable results obtaining certification of sexual harassment classes across industries—see, for example, our cases against Medicis Pharmaceutical (pharmaceuticals), the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Coleman Facility (prisons), and the Cook County Jail Complex (jails).  The Medicis and Coleman Facility cases both resolved favorably for our clients, with settlements of $7.25 million and $20 million respectively.  Both settlements entailed record payments on a per claimant basis.  These wins were made possible by brave clients who stepped forward to bring about meaningful change.

M&S Of Counsel Joshua Karsh was both trial and appellate counsel in a successful challenge to discriminatory physical abilities testing used by the Chicago Fire Department to disproportionately exclude women, and class counsel for a nationwide class of women employed as retail store managers at Walgreens, obtaining a $17 million settlement that also included injunctive relief requiring objective criteria for pay and promotion decisions and outside review of gender equity compliance efforts.

In addition to class actions, the firm represents women in confidential settlement negotiations with their employers. The firm negotiates monetary relief for our clients as well as changes to employers’ policies and practices to address the allegations of sexual harassment or sex discrimination and improve the workplace for all employees. We are mindful that women of color often face both gender and race discrimination and fight to address bias at the intersection of identities. Click here to learn more.

Age Discrimination

Older employees frequently find themselves disproportionately denied training and advancement, then terminated in employer reductions-in-force. They then face discrimination in seeking new employment and confront months or years of unemployment or underemployment. Mehri & Skalet lawyers are leaders in the use of class actions under state laws and collective actions under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) in the fight against illegal age discrimination. Frequently co-counseling with lawyers from AARP’s litigation foundation, M&S lawyers have won multi-million dollar settlements from several Fortune 500 companies on behalf of groups of employees challenging age discrimination in RIFs, hiring decisions, training, promotions and pay raises. Please contact us if you have an age discrimination claim, especially one that you believe could be brought on a class basis.

M&S attorney Mike Lieder has been a lead lawyer in several of the largest age discrimination actions against private employers in the country, including First Union Bank (now part of Wells Fargo), 3M, and most of the major television networks and studios in Hollywood on behalf of television writers.

Results Achieved

M&S lawyers have achieved some the largest race, gender, and age settlements in U.S. history, overcoming substantial risk and challenges along the way. The hallmark of many of the M&S settlements has been creating meaningful change through broad programmatic relief designed to produce fairness in the workplace.