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Pandemic Remote Work Policy Part of New Suit Against Morgan Lewis

Claire Young started working for Morgan Lewis & Bockius as an Accounts Payable Clerk in 2017, according to her recent lawsuit. In 2019, she suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. That stroke left her with some residual issues impacting her ability to work. A neurosurgeon released her to return to work, provided she work part-time (20-25 hours per week) and work remotely. Young asserted she was still able to perform the essential functions of her position with these accommodations.

Young alleges that a Morgan Lewis representative informed her she could not work remotely. The firm purportedly insisted she return to work in person. Young proposed a bifurcated schedule, working part of the day in the office and the remainder of the day remotely. In denying this request, Young alleges the firm told her she could rest on a couch in the office. When she responded that this accommodation would not work, Morgan Lewis purportedly responded that Young’s only option was an unpaid leave of absence. Several months of contentious discussions followed this offer. Young alleges the firm told her she could not work from home because of security concerns, project work, delivering mail, and answering phone calls. Young asserted that her position description did not include these duties. In October of 2019, Young filed a Charge of Discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In March 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Morgan Lewis directed all of its employees to work remotely. Young argues this direction demonstrates that the firm could have allowed her to work remotely all along. Young tried to arrange remote work during the pandemic; she claims the firm continued to deny her request. In December 2020, the firm told Young it had eliminated her position and had no administrative openings. Young claims the firm had “multiple administrative openings that [Young] was well qualified for and could perform.” Her lawsuit alleges violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the analogous state statute.