A&O faces fresh claim from erotic-fiction-writing former associate

A former Allen & Overy (A&O) associate who was sacked after refusing to stop publishing an online erotic novel is suing the firm for $35m in New York following a failed unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination claim in London.

Deidre Dare
Deidre Dare

In 2010 US-qualified Deidre Dare, who worked in the firm’s Moscow office and files her claims under the name Deirdre Clark, brought a £3.4m Employment Tribunal claim against the magic circle firm in London. She claimed unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination (20 May 2010), but the action failed at a pre-hearing review on jurisdictional grounds.

Dare is appealing the decision at the Employment Appeal Tribunal and has also brought a $35m claim against A&O in New York. Dare’s claim states that she is asking for $25m for ’injury to reputation and loss of current and prospective income and benefits’ and emotional distresses, and $10m for the ’wanton, malicious and intentional nature of the defendant’s conduct’.

Dare’s New York claim is based on nine causes of action: sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliations, breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent retention and negligent supervision, defamation and conspiracy.

Dare claims that after an encounter that “included intimate sexual contact” with the firm’s then Moscow head Tony Humphrey she became the victim of sexual discrimination.

She also claims that after filing a formal grievance with the firm’s human resources department, she received notice that she was being disciplined for an online novel she was writing. In January 2009, Dare was informed that her employment was being terminated for gross misconduct by refusing to stop publishing her novel.

In a statement a spokesperson for A&O said: “We’ve always been entirely satisfied that the termination of Ms Clark’s employment was justified and lawful.

“We’re pleased that the employment tribunal agreed that she had no right to bring an action in the UK. We remain committed to defending Ms Clark’s claim vigorously, regardless of the jurisdiction.”

Dare joined A&O in 2007, working in the firm’s London office. Later the same year she moved to Singapore and in March 2008 moved to the firm’s Moscow office.