Sexism allegations rock Toronto law office

Diane LaCalamita, former lawyer at McCarthy Tetrault, has filed a 12 million dollar wrongful dismissal suit against her former employer.

According to the National Post article, link below, she has declared that the blue chip firm discriminated against her on the bases of gender by not promoting her to be a partner. She claims that she was promised, but was never given, a promotion to an equity partner position. Furthermore, LaCalamita alleges the firm itself is “plagued by systematic gender-based discrimination and a culture of discrimination”.

McCarthy Tetrault has outright denied the claims and has vowed to defend them vigorously. They claim LaCalamita, who has already received more than $200,000 in severance from the firm, did not meet their partnership criteria.

In my legal practice, I find that claims of failed promotions are difficult to sucessfully make out.  That is, the evidence is usually circumstantial and courts tend not to insert their opinion on decisions of promotion into the place of the employer.

It is also interesting that McCarthy’s paid out $200,000 in severance to an employee without having her execute a release.  While some employment counsel see paying an employee after they leave as a strategy to curry favour in a lawsuit, by showing reasonablenss, I disagree.  Typically, I view this as, in effect, funding the litigation against the employer.

For today’s original National Post article on the dispute, click here.

Daniel A. Lublin is a Toronto Employment Lawyer specializing in the law of wrongful dismissal.  He can be reached at [email protected] or visit