Jewish associate sues A&O for race discrimination

A former associate from Allen & Overy’s New York office is suing the firm for race discrimination.

Former associate Norman Schoenfeld, who worked at the firm from August to October this year, is bringing an action against the firm under the Human Rights Law, the City Law and Labour Law in the US.

The plaintiff claims he requested time off work to observe the Jewish sabbath each week from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday.

Schoenfeld claims that he was told to work on a religious holiday despite warning his supervising partner well in advance that he would not be able to do so. He alleges that his employment was subsequently terminated because the firm claimed he was unable to carry out his job adequately.

Allen & Overy claims his employment was terminated on performance grounds within his trial period.

An Allen & Overy spokesperson said: “He also failed to accurately disclose to Allen & Overy the true terms of his previous employment at another law firm. Allen & Overy has a strict policy prohibiting any form of discrimination. We will vigorously defend our proud reputation of diversity and inclusion and are confident of a positive outcome.”

Schoenfeld claims he experienced resistance and discrimination from the beginning of his employment at Allen & Overy due to his religious beliefs.

The plaintiff has instructed Anne Vladeck of Vladeck Waldman Elias & Engelhard.