By By Amanda Mackey ReporterOctober 16, 2019 13:29:24A young attorney assistant who used to live with her family in suburban Detroit says she has been working in a local law office for more than three years, despite being told she has to move to a new state.
Carolyn M. Smith, 24, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, started her first full-time job with the Detroit Legal Aid Association in April.
She said she has a full-timer background, which helped her navigate the transition.
She said she was told she would need to be a licensed attorney for three years in Michigan before she could move to Washington, D.C. But she said she found that out on September 18, when her boss, Wayne L. Pardee, told her that she could no longer legally work in Detroit.
“I’ve been there for a year and I have to move here,” Smith told Newsweek.
Smith said she began working in the office a month before she moved.
She has been doing so since then, but she has had to learn new ways of communicating with her boss.
Smith said that after working at the legal aid office for three months, she found herself at a point where she could not focus on her work.
A couple weeks ago, she received a letter from her boss that said she needed to relocate to Washington because her contract was expiring.
Smith said she thought she was going to have to start all over again.
“It’s been a really hard week,” she said.
Smith also said that her boss told her she was not welcome at the law office.
Smith, who is now the only legal assistant in her family, said she believes that Pardees office has been hostile towards women and minorities.
Smith says that after she filed her lawsuit against Pardes office, she felt the legal staff at the office made comments like: “If you’re white, you’re the worst,” Smith said.
This is an issue that’s been in my family for a long time.
We’re just white, so we just have to work with it.
I felt like I was not being taken seriously by this office and they were taking advantage of my situation.
She said that the office has a policy that it will not discuss sexual harassment cases with the public, but that she did not report her harassment to the legal office.
After she reported her harassment, Smith said that Pards office started contacting her and asking for personal information.
She also said she received another letter saying that she was being fired because she did a poor job.
Pardee did not respond to Newsweek’s request for comment.
Smith is the third attorney assistant to file a discrimination lawsuit against the Detroit legal aid organization.
Last year, a legal aide in Detroit filed a discrimination complaint against Pards offices office, but was fired a few weeks later.
Smith hopes that the case against Pardedees office will help women like herself who are working in Detroit, which has a high rate of female-on-male crime, low graduation rates and low wages.
Lawyers are often expected to take on difficult cases in a small office and the office can be expensive, she said, but the office does not have a policy against harassment and harassment can occur in the workplace.
“They are very upfront about their policies and they’re very upfront with their clients,” Smith, a former legal assistant, said.
“We have to be upfront with ourselves.”