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Blatant Race Discrimination Alleged at Law Firm

The Princeton, New Jersey branch of Drinker Biddle allegedly engaged in race discrimination against an African-American legal assistant.
Syneetra Hill has claimed that the Princeton office has not had a black attorney in the 11 years that she was employed there. According to the lawsuit, of the 45 people employed in that branch, only Ms. Hill and a mailroom employee are African-American. One supervisor kept Confederate memorabilia in his office. A majority of the racial harassment came from one particular attorney who referred to Ms. Hill as “our slave” in front of a client. This attorney apparently tried to correct herself when she saw the reaction and make it seem like she meant that Ms. Hill worked like a slave. This same female attorney advised Ms. Hill to read a book on how segregation was “good for blacks because at least they could go to their own colleges.” Upon noticing a picture of Ms. Hill’s 1-year-old son, this attorney commented: “he should be ready to get a basketball in his hands.”
Ms. Hill alleges in her suit that she complained about the conduct. The firm was alleged to have investigated her complaints but decided that the attorney did not mean to cause her offense. The attorney was to be moved to another area in the office and receive sensitivity training. Instead, Ms. Hill was relocated and reassigned to another attorney. The woman, however, has made it a point to walk by Ms. Hill’s desk and “makes loud noises and slams books and other things to annoy and harass the plaintiff.” Ms. Hill has also accused the firm of giving her smaller wage increases and bonuses since raising her complaints. Drinker Biddle has not yet responded to the lawsuit.