Jones Day must provide six female lawyers suing for alleged nationwide sex discrimination in pay and other decision-making with data concerning all associates who worked in any of its U.S. offices between 2012 and 2018, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said in an oral ruling Thursday.
Nilab Rahyar Tolton, Andrea Mazingo, Meredith Williams, Saira Draper, Jaclyn Stahl, and Katrina Henderson aren’t yet entitled to similar data for 2019 forward, because it isn’t clear that any of them are adequate class representatives for purposes of alleged pay discrimination once they were no longer with Jones Day, Judge Randolph D. Moss said during a telephonic status conference addressing a discovery dispute between the parties.
The judge said requiring the firm to produce nationwide data for 2012–2018 was appropriate because Jones Day’s burden in producing that information will be “relatively minor.”
Jones Day said in its pre-hearing letter brief that nationwide data will involve reviewing the employment records of more than 2,000 lawyers and require extensive redaction of those records for confidential client information.
The firm’s privacy concerns for current and past associates who aren’t participants in the proposed class action can be addressed in a protective order, the court said. And if circumstances show that isn’t enough to effectively shield their identities, Jones Day can seek to file pertinent documents and information under seal, the court said.
Jones Day also challenged the relevance of data prior to 2016, the beginning of the actionable class period, and for offices other than those in states where the six lead plaintiffs worked.
Those concerns can be addressed at the class certification stage, the judge said.
Moss said it was more efficient to allow the broad discovery sought by the women than to proceed in a more piecemeal fashion that may need to be repeatedly reset.
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, discovery ruling 7/9/20.