Bloomberg Law
March 11, 2021, 6:31 PM

Five Female Lawyers Drop Sex Bias, Pay Claims Against Jones Day

Patrick Dorrian
Patrick Dorrian

Five of six female attorneys suing Jones Day for allegedly widespread sex discrimination told a District of Columbia federal judge Thursday they are dropping their remaining claims. One woman will continue on with her equal pay, sex bias and harassment, and race discrimination claims, however.

The notice of voluntary dismissal filed by Nilab Rahyar Tolton, Andrea Mazingo, Meredith Williams, Jaclyn Stahl, and Saira Draper didn’t state whether the move was further to a settlement, and counsel for the parties didn’t immediately respond Thursday to Bloomberg Law’s request for details.

The development comes nearly three months after all six women told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that they were dropping their allegations of classwide sex bias.

“We embarked on this litigation to address what we believed to be systemic gender discrimination in the legal profession, specifically as to pay and other terms and conditions of employment at Jones Day,” the five women said Thursday in a statement. “Jones Day has produced payroll data that does not support class-wide claims of gender discrimination, therefore, we voluntarily dismissed those claims in December 2020. We remain committed to advancing the goal of having greater equity in the legal profession and have now concluded our case against Jones Day,” they said.

The $200 million class and collective action was filed in April 2019. The women alleged that Jones Day utilizes a “black box” compensation system under which managing partner Stephen J. Brogan has final decision-making authority.

Firm policy prohibits employees from discussing their pay with each other, and a separate “no whining policy” bars female associates from complaining about sex-based inequities, the suit alleged.

Tolton, Mazingo, Williams, Stahl, and Draper dismiss all of their remaining claims with prejudice, according to the notice filed with Judge Randolph D. Moss.

But the claims “of any and all individuals similarly situated to” Tolton and Mazingo under California’s Private Attorney General Act were dismissed without prejudice, the notice said.

A separate filing Thursday clarifies that plaintiff Katrina Henderson’s individual claims remain pending. These include disparate treatment and hostile work environment claims under the New York City Human Rights Law, pay bias claims under federal and New York law, and race discrimination under 42 U.S.C. §1981.

Henderson worked in Jones Day’s New York City office from October 2013 until July 2016 and at one point in the suit sought to represent a class of female attorneys in New York.

Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP represents the women. Jones Day represents itself.

The case is Tolton v. Jones Day, D.D.C., No. 1:19-cv-00945, notice of partial dismissal 3/11/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Dorrian in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at; Nicholas Datlowe at