Monday, June 4, 2007

Top GE Legal Executive Commences Class Gender Discrimination Action

Generalelectric The Wall Street Journal Law Blog has the scoop of an in-house gender discrimination class suit filed by a top lawyer at GE's transportation unit:

The top legal executive for GE’s transportation unit took the unusual step of suing her company for gender discrimination Thursday, saying she has been paid less than male counterparts and was denied a promotion because she is female. Here’s the WSJ story.

Lorene Schaefer, a 13-year GE veteran who has served as the transportation unit’s GC since May 2005, says gender discrimination at GE is widespread. Her lawsuit seeks class action status. The suit seeks a total of $500 million in damages for an estimated 1,500 female executives at GE, as well as for an unknown number of female attorneys at the company who aren’t in executive-level positions. The suit also seeks changes in the company’s pay and promotion practices.

Of course, Wal-Mart is also going through a much larger gender discrimination class action concerning the promotion of female employees in the Dukes case.  Another thought: Ms. Schaefer better hope in light of Ledbetter that she can point to discriminatory pay decisions within the very short Title VII statutory period and/or also sues under the Equal Pay Act. 

This case has the potential of being another block-buster so stay tuned.  Never good news for a company when your general counsel sues you for employment discrimination.


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