GE lawyer files $500m sex discrimination claim

A top General Electric lawyer has filed a $500m (£252m) sex discrimination class action against the company and its chief executive officer.

Lorene Schaefer is seeking damages for herself and 1,500 high-level female executives and attorneys at GE.

Schaefer, filed her case after learning that she would be demoted from her post as general counsel for GE’s transportation division and was told that she was “not big enough” for her job. She was also told she would be replaced by a “big-time GC [general counsel]”.

Schaefer, a former labour lawyer, is also alleging that two female divisional general counsel were paid less and kept a lower rank than their male counterparts.

Schaefer’s lawyers, Washington’s Sanford Wittels and Heisler have asked for policy changes on pay and promotions at GE.

GE general counsel Brackett Denniston and chief executive Jeffrey Immelt are named as defendants alongside 12 other members of GE’s senior executives while Schaefer has been placed on administrative leave.