Nokia In-House Lawyer Sues, Accuses Company of Age, Sex Bias

Nokia Corp. is accused in a new lawsuit of discriminating against a 56-year-old female in-house attorney based on her age and sex, and for firing her when she complained.

Sharan Rene Boudreau says she was passed over for promotion despite having recently received awards for her superior job performance. Nokia mistakenly claimed she lacked sufficient management experience for the new role and failed to amend its assessment when she clarified her extensive prior experience with its predecessor, Alcatel, and while in private practice, her complaint filed July 5 in federal court in Dallas says.

The job instead went to a significantly younger male attorney who wasn’t nearly as qualified, Boudreau says.

Boudreau says she faced a backlash when she began questioning the male attorney’s qualifications, and for frequently checking his LinkedIn page too for Nokia’s liking.

She raised concerns about her mistreatment with human resources, which told her that her complaints, which it viewed as alleging age and sex discrimination, were unfounded, Boudreau says. She followed HR’s advice to take short-term disability leave, she says.

Boudreau’s performance continued to be lauded while she was on leave, but she was fired soon after filing a discrimination charge with the Texas Commission on Human Rights, the lawsuit says.

Causes of Action: Age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act; sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the TCHRA; and retaliation in violation of the ADEA, Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the TCHRA.

Relief: Compensatory, liquidated, and punitive damages; back pay; attorneys’ fees and costs.

Response: Nokia didn’t immediately respond July 8 to a request for comment.

Attorneys: Gillespie Sanford LLP represents Boudreau.

The case is Boudreau v. Nokia Corp., N.D. Tex., No. 3:19-cv-01623, complaint filed 7/5/19.

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