Former Nelson Brown attorney alleges wrongful termination

By Nicholas Malfitano | Apr 16, 2015

PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia attorney is alleging her former employer discriminated against her based on gender and fired her over complaints of a hostile work environment and gender harassment that she levied against the company.

Elizabeth Bailey was an employee of Blue Bell-based insurance firm Nelson Brown DeLuca & Hamilton, which later became known as Nelson Brown & Co.

Bailey began working for Nelson Brown in September 2011 as a law clerk, concurrent to her studies as a student at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, she says. The following year, Bailey claimed Nelson Brown communicated to her it intended to retain her services as an associate attorney, pending her graduation from law school.

After graduating from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law in April 2013, Bailey began working in the firm's Subrogation Department, she says. In that capacity, Bailey reported to two of the firm’s partners, Kenneth Levine and Daniel DeLuca, she says.

Through her suit, Bailey claims she was subjected to a hostile work environment that demonstrated a gender bias against female employees.

She was allegedly excluded from department meetings and told by her male colleagues that Levine “doesn’t like to hire females as associate attorneys because they leave the firm to have children."

Male colleagues also made sexist remarks about creating a “Girls of Subro (Subrogation) Calendar," she claims.

In September 2013, Bailey claims she and the Subrogation Department’s only other female attorney met with the firm’s General Counsel, Claudia McCarron, to discuss these incidents and what she believed was the firm’s “frat house” atmosphere.

McCarron allegedly responded that she and Jean Hadley, Director of Professional Development and Human Resources, would have a meeting with DeLuca and supposedly encouraged Bailey to “put yourself out there more," in the hopes of improving relations with her male co-workers.

Bailey claims an individual meeting with DeLuca himself regarding these complaints was supposed to take place and never did, while a follow-up meeting with Hadley allegedly also yielded no results.

In November 2013, DeLuca terminated Bailey’s employment, allegedly telling her, “She would make a great attorney, but not here.”

Bailey also claimed Hadley informed her that her firing was not related to her work performance, but rather was based on DeLuca’s belief that she was “not fitting in with the group.”

Both DeLuca and Levine have since left Nelson Brown to form their own subrogation firm, DeLuca Levine, while McCarron is now a partner at the firm Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, the suit says.

The plaintiff is seeking the alleged actions of the defendants be declared in violation of both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

The plaintiff is represented by Stephen G. Console and Caren N. Gurmankin of Console Law Offices in Philadelphia. Listing of counsel for the defendants was not immediately available.

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case 2:15-cv-01776

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