We’ve stressed a million times how important it is to be kind to staffers.
A female associate threatening to bring an automatic weapon to the office and use it over a lost fax would not fall under kind treatment of staff.
But such an alleged event at Morrison & Foerster’s San Francisco office was the first in a series of events that a former secretary claims lead to her being selected to be laid off. The woman, Aileen Martinez filed a lawsuit in California state court at the end of January against the firm and associate Mimi Yang.
Martinez was with MoFo for 28 years, lost her job when the firm cut 53 lawyers and 148 staff members in January 2009. MoFo was among many firms who made large attorney and staff cuts in 2009 and stated at the time that the layoffs were in response to the faltering economy.
Martinez’s suit claims, however, that she was target for the lay-off because she had taken a medical leave following an event at the office in January of 2008 when Yang “threatened to bring an ‘Uzi’ to work and ‘kill’ people.” Martinez claims she suffered extreme stress because she had been working in a building years earlier when an office shooting occurred.
The suit also claims that a supervisor (also named as a defendant) downplayed Martinez’s illness and that many of those laid off at the same time as Martinez were mostly over 40, of Asian or Pacific Island decent and, had some form of disability or were on medical leave.
Yang, via her attorney, declined to comment to The Legal Pad, whose report on the suit, with a copy of the complaint, are here.
We’ve reached out to MoFo and will update with their response as soon as we have it.
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