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Fourth Circuit Rules For Former Booz Allen Hamilton In-House Counsel in Sex and Age Discrimination Case

Federal appeals court finds lower court failed to analyze “glass ceiling” evidence preventing high ranking women at Booz Allen from advancing and ultimately leading to their termination or demotion

Richmond, Virginia (August 23, 2016) – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today reversed the lower court’s grant of summary judgment, finding that the district court erred in dismissing Carla Calobrisi’s claims of age and sex discrimination and constructive discharge when the then all-male leadership team at Booz Allen Hamilton demoted Ms. Calobrisi despite 11 years of exemplary performance in its Law Department.  Linda M. Correia of Correia & Puth, PLLC argued the case on behalf of Ms. Calobrisi before the Fourth Circuit in March 2016.

As the Fourth Circuit noted, Ms. Calobrisi alleged “that Booz Allen maintained a glass ceiling that prevented female employees, particularly those who were older or in higher ranking positions, from advancing . . . . [and] her demotion resulted from her running headfirst into that glass ceiling.”  “[M]embers of Booz Allen’s all-male ‘Leadership Team’ triggered several of the departures and each featured an abrupt demotion or revocation of responsibilities after years of positive reviews, leading to a separation from Booz Allen employment that the company characterized as voluntary but that the witnesses characterized differently.”

The Court’s decision allows Ms. Calobrisi’s discrimination and constructive discharge claims to move forward.  In response to the Fourth Circuit’s ruling, Ms. Correia stated, “We are delighted by the Court’s decision and look forward to trying this case.  We are confident that a jury would readily conclude that members of Booz Allen’s all-male ‘Leadership Team’ illegally demoted Ms. Calobrisi because of her gender and age, then 55, just as it terminated or demoted other talented older female executives.”

Before the Court of Appeals, AARP submitted an amicus brief in support of Ms. Calobrisi.  AARP argued that Supreme Court precedent preserved an individual worker’s opportunity to offer evidence of their employer’s discrimination against other employees in order to support their own claims of workplace age bias, and the lower court’s decision undermined the significance of such evidence to the detriment of older workers.

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For more information, contact Correia & Puth at (202) 602-6500 or firm@correiaputh.com.

Correia & Puth, PLLC, is a Washington, DC law firm dedicated solely to representing employees confronting workplace discrimination, retaliation, and unfair treatment. The firm is a recognized, national leader in aggressively fighting sex discrimination, retaliation, and harassment in the workplace, and ensuring the rights employees to be free from workplace discrimination of every kind.

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