Fish & Richardson Pro Bono Team Wins Jury Verdict for Female Employee in Sex Discrimination Lawsuit

A Maryland jury has returned a verdict for Evangeline Parker, represented pro bono by Fish & Richardson and the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, in a case alleging sex-based discrimination and violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by her former employer, Reema Consulting Services, Inc. The jury awarded Parker $725,000 in compensatory and punitive damages for being subjected to a hostile work environment based on sex, and for being fired for speaking up about the hostile environment.

"Ms. Parker was a star performer, with an exemplary professional record, who followed policy after being the target of harassment born of false rumors. We're thankful the jury got this right, sending a strong message that this type of behavior is unacceptable," said Fish Principal Daniel Tishman, who represented Parker in this case.

In her complaint, Parker outlined clear allegations of sex-based discrimination, mainly that a male co-worker concocted a false rumor that she had "slept her way to the top," and her attempts to resolve the resulting harassment she faced from her superiors, co-workers, and subordinates resulted in her retaliatory termination. The jury awarded Parker $340,000 in compensatory damages, as well as $385,000 in punitive damages.

The Maryland jury ruling follows a monumental 2019 decision secured by Fish and the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs in the case at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which set forth powerful precedent that clarifies and strengthens Title VII protections against sex stereotyping for the many unfortunate victims throughout the country.

"Ms. Parker was a model employee who, upon following protocol against false accusations, was fired while her harassers were protected. This decision exonerates Ms. Parker and sends a clear message to any employer who would penalize a woman for standing up for herself and her rights," noted Joanna Wasik, counsel at the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

Fish attorneys are dedicated to serving the communities in which they live and work, and pro bono work is an integral part of the firm's professional culture. Fish believes that the practice of law is a privilege that carries with it the responsibility to provide pro bono legal services to those who cannot afford to pay. In 2020, nearly 75% of the firm's attorneys took part in pro bono projects, resulting in roughly 22,000 pro bono hours dedicated firmwide.

The case is Parker v. Reema Consulting in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. In addition to Tishman, the Fish team included principals Andrew Kopsidas and Ahmed Davis and associates Taylor Burgener and Tracea Rice, among others.

June 2022 Update

The Fish team was recognized by the Washington Lawyers' Committee at the 2022 Wiley A. Branton Awards Luncheon on June 1, 2022, for their work on behalf of Ms. Parker.

View the Washington Lawyers’ Committee’s 2022 Outstanding Achievement Award video on this employment justice case.