White & Case Paris partner faces harassment case from former associate

A partner in White & Case’s Paris office is facing a ‘moral harassment’ case brought by a former associate.

The case against the unnamed partner was originally thrown out, but on 5 June the Paris court of appeal ruled that the ‘harcèlement moral’ case should be heard. The partner is appealing the decision in the higher Cour de cassation, with a hearing expected soon.

The claim was reported by French newspaper Libération earlier this month. The newspaper said an associate, whom it named using the pseudonym Lucie S., had brought the case against a partner – described as Paul D. – alleging sustained harassment while she was employed by White & Case in the early 2000s. 

Contesting the case, the partner is understood to have claimed that the associate had made explicit advances towards him and had flirted with him openly in the office.

The claimant is represented by William Bourdon of Paris firm Bourdon & Forestier. Frédérique Pons of Pons & Carrere is acting for the defendant. Neither had responded to requests for comment by the time this story went to press.

In a statement a White & Case spokesperson said: “The complaint was originated a number of years ago and, following a thorough investigation by a French investigating judge, was dismissed in April 2013. The partner in question has appealed the recent decision to reopen the matter and that appeal will be heard promptly by the French Supreme Court. With the court appeal pending it would be inappropriate to comment further at this point.”

Last year French independent Bredin Prat paid out €100,000 in an unfair dismissal claim brought by a former employee (28 February 2013).