Court penalises Clifford Chance for calling secretary "pig headed"
09 November 2012
's Paris office has been ordered to pay a secretary €54,000 in damages, loss of earnings and costs after roundly abusing her in her dismissal letter.
Unfair dismissal claims against big law firms are a dime a dozen, but this one turned particularly nasty. It started off in the Employment Tribunal, but CC dragged it to the Court of Appeal and then to the Supreme Court. All in all it rumbled on for five years.
was given back in 2009 but has only just surfaced after Avi Bitton, crusading French lawyer, former CC associate and perennial embuggerment to large law firms
published it on his website
. The Court awarded the secretary damages for injury to feelings after her dismissal letter claimed she was "surly
", "pig headed
" and had an "off-putting manner
". Which, whilst possibly de rigueur for Parisians, is surely not the wisest thing to put in writing.
||CC's Paris office manager, yesterday
RollOnFriday asked CC why it had spent five years fighting a claim from a secretary in her fifties, and why it had used such language. A spokesman declined to comment.
CC's Paris office may have parted company with Bitton many years ago, but it seems it will never be entirely rid of him. He is currently representing two of its former staff
who are suing the firm.