An Allen & Overy (A&O) senior associate who was sacked for gross misconduct after publishing an erotic novel online has vowed to take legal action against the firm.
Deidre Dare was sacked without notice from A&O’s Moscow office several weeks after the firm stopped her from publishing further instalments of her erotic novel Expat: A Weekly Serialized Novel About Living in Moscow (TheLawyer.com, 2 February).
Dare said she now plans to take action against A&O. “I’ll appeal [the sacking] … I think it was extremely heavy-handed,” she added.
Dare has instructed Fox Williams ;employment partner Mark Watson to represent her, although she is still deciding whether to take the claim forward in a UK employment tribunal, the US courts or in Russia after exhausting the internal appeals process.
She said she had first posted chapters of her serialised novel on her website around three to four months ago.
In mid-December last year, Dare brought an internal grievance procedure for sexual harassment against A&O over the alleged misconduct of a Moscow partner. She said the firm’s London HR department then instituted disciplinary proceedings against her because of her website. Dare claims this proceeding was started in retaliation for her sexual harassment claim.
An A&O statement said: “After we became formally aware of Ms Dare’s website and started to consider the firm’s response, she filed a grievance that was fully investigated in accordance with our standard policies and found to be groundless, although she has appealed against the decision.”
While the first names of several characters in Dare’s novel are the same as those of A&O colleagues, she told The Lawyer that everything she had written was entirely fictitious.