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Leigh Day & Co is facing a potentially embarrassing lawsuit after a former lawyer launched a sexual discrimination and unfair dismissal claim against the civil liberties firm
Jemima Brewer, who joined Leigh Day in September 2000, alleges that she was made redundant while on maternity leave. Brewer claims that she was immediately removed from her responsibilities after partner Richard Meeran discovered she was pregnant.
Leigh Day rejects these claims and will be contesting the case. The firm claims that Brewer was made redundant because there was not enough work in her department. Partner Sally Moore said: "Leigh Day is not immune to the market and occasionally we're forced to make redundancies.
"It's a great shame that this has happened. It was with considerable reluctance that we made Jemima redundant."
The firm has not made any other redundancies.
While at Leigh Day, Brewer was responsible for the management of individual claims in the high-profile Cape litigation, which saw 7,500 South Africans claim damages for injury for asbestos mining undertaken by the large multinational. The proceedings were resolved on 24 December 2001, which coincides with Brewer's last day at Leigh Day.
Moore also said that the firm totally refutes Brewer's claim that she was removed from the Cape litigation after the firm found out about her pregnancy. She added that Brewer raised this issue a year after the date of the alleged incident.