Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) equity partner John Olsen is taking the firm to an employment tribunal, alleging harassment and age discrimination.
Olsen, 60, who joined the firm in 1999 from SJ Berwin and who is now trademarks head, lodged the claim with the London Central Employment Tribunal last month after calling on the firm’s management to expel IP and Europe chief Mark Abell.
In an internal grievance document seen by The Lawyer, Olsen claims Abell “sought to marginalise me because of my age and take away my clients”.
Olsen claims he joined FFW ;with ;a ;book ;of business worth £2m, which he has subsequently grown to £5m, but that Abell has undermined his position at the firm. At one point in the 19-page claim, Olsen states that Abell “screamed at me in a meeting, calling me ‘pig ignorant’ 17 times.”
He also complains of interference ;into ;a £3,232.36 expenses claim for a meeting with client Elizabeth Arden in Switzerland. Olsen claims that fellow IP partners had damaged his relationship with the client and that the trip was essential to keep Elizabeth Arden on the firm’s books. His grievance stems from the fact that Abell questioned the expense, despite Olsen’s status as a senior equity partner.
The date of the hearing is not yet known, but the parties have instructed external counsel. Jo Keddie, head of employment at City firm Dawsons, is representing FFW, while Mishcon de Reya dispute resolution chief James Libson is acting for Olsen.