On Wednesday, July 31, 2019 a bipartisan group of 67 New York State Senators and State Assembly Members sent a letter to Ernst & Young (“EY”) Chairman and CEO Carmine Di Sibio in support of Wigdor LLP client Karen Ward, who filed a declaratory judgment action earlier this month seeking to invalidate her arbitration agreement with EY.
This month, multiple outlets reported that Ms. Ward has been charged $185,000 to date just to have her claims of sexual harassment and gender discrimination against EY heard in arbitration, with her case still in the discovery phase. Had she been permitted to file her claims in court, Ms. Ward would have only had to pay $450 in filing fees to have her case heard.
The letter, led by Senators Liz Krueger and Alessandra Biaggi, and Assembly Members Aravella Simotas and Jo Anne Simon, urged EY to “reconsider its outdated approach to addressing gender inequity and show that it is committed to providing all employees with a harassment-free workplace by ensuring they have access to our justice system to address discrimination claims.”
Women like Karen Ward deserve to be heard when they say they've been sexually harassed in the workplace—not forced into private arbitration and billed $185,000 just to have their claims heard. #DoBetterEY #EndForcedArbitration https://t.co/5PEDNVvwD0
— Douglas Wigdor – Wigdor Law (@WigdorLaw) July 31, 2019
Statement from Michael J. Willemin, Partner at Wigdor LLP:
“We are thrilled and proud that so many members of the New York State Legislature have taken this very important stand against forced arbitration and EY. No victim of sexual harassment should ever be denied access to our court system, never mind be required to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars simply for the right to seek justice. EY should be leading by example, not silencing employees who have been sexually harassed or discriminated against.”