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04/17/06

Maternity issues hamper career growth

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's recent report revealed that more women are facing discrimination based on pregnancy and maternity issues. Complaints have increased 31% since 1995.

Despite the nation's declining birth rate, EEOC reports 4,449 complaints were made in 2005 as compared to 3,385 in 1992. In addition, pre-litigation resolution also went up from $3.7 million to $11.6 million. These numbers make pregnancy discrimination one of the fastest-growing types of employment discrimination, taking over even sexual harassment and sex discrimination charges.

The fact may be attributed to a variety of factors. With the increasing emphasis on billable hours, women are more likely to continue to work after becoming pregnant. Greater understanding of employment rights has also played a key role as more women today are aware of laws like Pregnancy Discrimination Act and The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). General factors like firms looking to reduce their numbers have also been blamed.

Among the cases being litigated, a case in point is the Google lawsuit. A female employee of Google has claimed she was demoted and subsequently terminated because she told her boss about her medical problems relating to her pregnancy. Google is facing a federal lawsuit in New York. Elwell v. Google, No. 05 CV 6487 (S.D.N.Y.)

Wolf Block rationalizes its financial service department
Pennsylvania-based Wolf Block Schorr & Solis-Cohen has restructured its financial services department by putting its commercial lending, bankruptcy, and real estate structured finance practices under a single umbrella.

The restructured department will be led by Richard M. Zucker. Gretchen M. Santamour will head the bankruptcy/creditors rights group; Zucker, commercial lending; and Abby Wenzel will lead the real estate structured finance practice.

The firm decided to revamp its finance department structure in order to keep up with the recent market trends. Since the three different practice groups were related and had been conferring on various matters in the past too, the move makes logical sense.

Drinker Biddle & Reath talks merger
Philadelphia-based Drinker Biddle & Reath is believed to be in merger talks with The Bayard Firm of Wilmington, DL. Both firms, however, declined to comment on the issue.

In 2003, Drinker Biddle opened its office in the Wilmington Trust Company Building in the city's downtown and soon became a rapidly growing bankruptcy practice. The firm currently has six lawyers in Wilmington which will total nearly 35, if the merger comes into effect.

One of Delaware's premier law practices, The Bayard Firm is the sole Delaware member of Meritas, the largest association of national and international business law firms throughout the world. The firm's subsidiary, The Delaware Corporation Agency, Inc., is a registered agent of the Office of the Secretary of State of Delaware.

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