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Ex-Skadden Lawyer's Misuse of Car Service Dooms Bias Suit Appeal

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on May 31, 2012 6:02 AM

If you're going to sue your former law firm for discrimination, make sure you didn't abuse your perks first.

That's about all you can learn from Rita Gordon, a former litigation attorney at Skadden Arps. Gordon sued the firm for gender and age discrimination after she was fired in 2005. But the firm claimed it was her "liberal" use of its car service that led to the firing.

And as of this week, that reason stands. The New York Appellate Division has affirmed a grant of summary judgment in Skadden's favor.

You see, Rita Gordon argued the firm's reasoning was pretextual and that Skadden wanted "a younger man whose demeanor and conduct was more consistent with the 'macho image' of Skadden's Litigation Department," according to the ABA Journal. Though this may have been true, her prior behavior screwed up her case.

She used the firm's car service hundreds of times in violation of firm policy. She took it to and from her home. She used it to go to personal appointments. And then, Tuesday's order explains, she'd charge clients for her trips.

Unethical, anyone?

At one point, Gordon claimed that she needed to use the car service because of a back injury. But still, this doesn't explain why she billed clients for personal appointments or why she thought Skadden had to provide her a ride to and from work.

Seriously, rides are only for people who waste their evenings at the office.

If Rita Gordon hadn't given Skadden such a great reason to fire her, it's possible her lawsuit wouldn't have been dismissed. But she did, and now she's got to deal with it.

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