Our thanks to Ed for this. The start of the piece:
A high-flying lawyer who had a ‘meltdown’ due to her ‘intolerable’ workload at a top City law firm is suing the company claiming stress ended her lucrative career.
Barrister turned yoga instructor Joanna Torode, 46, says working conditions at the London office of international law firm Ropes and Gray were so ‘horrific’ that she had a nervous breakdown, bursting into tears at work.
After an ‘exodus’ of colleagues, she had been left with an ‘unrelenting’ workload and was often the last to leave at night, leading to her emotional collapse from stress over Christmas 2017.
In legal papers, filed to the High Court, she says she has been unable to work since being admitted to hospital in April 2018.
The barrister, who now runs charity yoga classes raising money for children in India, is suing Ropes and Gray for damages for the premature end to her law career.
According to court documents, her claim is for at least £200,000. However, it is likely to run into the millions due to her claim for the loss of her ‘substantial’ salary in the City.
Though it is not clear what the experienced barrister’s salary was, newly qualified lawyers at the firm’s London office earn as much as £147,000-a-year, plus bonuses.
The US firm, based in Boston, Massachusetts, is fighting the damages bid, claiming that – as a very high-earning City lawyer – it was expected that Ms Torode would sometimes work long hours.
And they deny that her workload was excessive in any way, suggesting that she was ‘over-focused on promotion’ and that her tears at Christmas were simply because she was passed over whilst other colleagues moved up the career ladder.
Lawyers for the firm have also attempted to turn the tables on Ms Torode, claiming it was ‘typical’ of her that she would ‘become upset frustrated and angry when she did not get what she wanted’.
Torode must surely have been on an extraordinary salary by most people’s standards. Like so many women, she wanted (it would appear) the upsides of her position without being willing to face the downsides.
I took early retirement in 2009, at the age of 52. One of the reasons was that I no longer wanted the stresses that inevitably came with my line of work (business consultancy). During my business career I knew quite a number of men and women who quit their jobs, or retired early, because they found them too stressful. The proportion of men who can perform well in very stressful roles over an extended period isn’t large, but it vastly exceeds the proportion of women who can. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why so few women (compared with men) apply for very stressful positions, where performance is always in the spotlight.
We now have the situation where women quit high-paying jobs and demand compensation including the income they would have earned, had they still been working. It’s obscene. I expect the firms most committed to the “Women are strong! Women are amazing!! Women need relentless support and gender quotas!!!” BS will crash and burn as they underperform their less feminised rivals.
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