Woman who has been a legal secretary for 25 years files a suit against two law partners.
Legal secretary, Marjan Rabbi, is claiming two Venable “partners yelled, humiliated and demeaned her to such an extent that their conduct constituted sex discrimination under California’s fair employment law.” She filed a lawsuit in superior court in Los Angeles. Rabbi has been a legal secretary for more than 25 years.
The filing states, “verbal abuse by one partner, a known office bully, was so bad that she transferred to another partner.” Yet, he too verbally abused her, culminating in an incident in March 2019 that sent Rabbi to the hospital with a panic attack.
“The days when an attorney can make enough money to excuse the verbal abuse and humiliation of the women that work for him are over,” the lawsuit contends. “Legal staff is not required to tolerate and even babysit lawyers through tantrums supposedly caused by ‘stress’ or ‘pressure.’ Verbal abuse and humiliation alter the terms and conditions of employment. When this conduct is directed at women, it is sex discrimination.”
Rabbi says the first partner, “whose already abusive conduct worsened because of the pressures of working at an international law firm…yelled at Rabbi, told her that she was useless to him and said she was like a child.” Evidently hoping she would resign, he “criticized her for calendar conflicts he created and would routinely refer to her issue with numbers.” This issue is a medical condition known as dyscalculia, defined as “difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic, such as difficulty in understanding numbers, learning how to manipulate numbers, performing mathematical calculations and learning facts in mathematics…it is seen as the mathematical equivalent to dyslexia.”
The partner finally got his wish when Rabbi sought a transfer after the partner suggested that he “wanted a young, attractive assistant like an employee whose name ‘was office code’ for a trophy secretary,” her lawsuit states. Then, her new partner “berated her over a federal filing” and “scolded and humiliated Rabbi in front of several staff members for some alleged issue with a binder.” He evidently “had not received appropriate credit for a matter that Rabbi opened on his behalf,” according to the lawsuit, which also states, “He was shouting and red-faced. He was out of control and scary.”
The lawsuit specifically states, “On March 13, 2019, Dan Silverman, partner at Venable LLP’s Los Angeles offices, flew into a rage at Marjan Rabbi, his legal secretary, over her purported mishandling of partner credits. Red-faced and yelling at her while she sat at her desk; Silverman repeatedly humiliated and demeaned Ms. Rabbi in front of her colleagues in a busy legal office. Humiliated and panicky, Ms. Rabbi fled, with the assistance of a co-worker, to a common area. Silverman chased her down and, as she was on her hand and knees in a panic attack, stood over her and continued his out of control rage.”
That same day, she left work and lost consciousness while behind the wheel of her still-parked vehicle. She was rushed to the hospital. After tests were ran, it was determined Rabbi had suffered “a sever and debilitating anxiety attack,” the paperwork contends.
The two partners Rabbi formerly worked for have been accused of “sex discrimination, retaliation, disability discrimination and age discrimination” under California’s fair employment law, as well as “unfair competition and infliction of emotional distress.”