Law firm to tighten its equality policies after ruling

A law firm found guilty of discriminating against an Asian employee says it
is doubling its efforts to ensure staff adhere to equal opportunities policies.

London Central employment tribunal held that Allen & Overy, one of the
UK’s biggest law firms, victimised intranet project manager Shazia Wahab, when
the firm’s HR manager, Jo Booth, told her that bringing a discrimination claim
against the firm would be "professional suicide".

Allen & Overy spokesman, Iain Rodgers, said the firm’s partners had
issued a memo to all staff pledging their "utter commitment" to their
policy of respect and inclusion for all employees.

"The tribunal turned down 10 other complaints by Wahab, including
claims of sexual, racial and employment-status discrimination," he said.
"It found the firm was only guilty in ‘one isolated and discreet respect’.
Allen & Overy has fallen foul of a slip of the tongue."

Wahab’s solicitor, Lawrence Davies, said the case blew the lid on
discrimination in the ‘magic circle’ of London firms, and hoped other victims
would now have the courage to come forward.

However, Fraser Younson, head of employment law at McDermott, Will and
Emery, said there would be no flood of claims, as firms tend to settle before
reaching tribunals in an effort to save their reputations.

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