Ellen Eardley joined the firm in 2007 and is active in the civil rights, whistleblower, and wage and hour aspects of the firm’s practice. Ms. Eardley regularly litigates a variety of complex civil rights matters, including race and gender discrimination cases, and has negotiated a number of settlement agreements that provide for monetary relief as well as significant changes in the policies and practices of large corporations. Her work also includes legislative and administrative policy, representing non-profit clients, teaching and research.
Ms. Eardley currently represents female employees alleging sexual harassment at large federal prison complex in Florida. White, et al. v. Federal Bureau of Prisons. Recently, the women’s complaint was certified as a class action. Ms. Eardley also represented a class of female financial advisors in Carter, et al. v. Wells Fargo Advisors, et al., which resulted in a settlement of $33 million and significant improvements to corporate policies regarding compensation and promotion of financial advisors. She leads the firm’s Women on Wall Street Project.
Ms. Eardley regularly represents individuals and small groups of employees in confidential settlement negotiations with their employers to resolve claims of discrimination, retaliation, and wage violations as well as in negotiations regarding severance agreements. Ms. Eardley has also represented a class of African Americans who alleged that John Hancock Life Insurance had a policy of discriminating against African-American consumers in the sale of life insurance in the 1920s. The case settled for $24.4 million.
Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Eardley litigated employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and wage and hour cases on behalf of public sector employees and unions at firm in Washington, D.C. Previously, Ms. Eardley was an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the National Women’s Law Center. She served on the team of attorneys who represented female victims of sexual assault at the University of Colorado and who represented Coach Roderick Jackson in Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education, 544 U.S. 167 (2005).
Graduating first in her law school class at the University of Cincinnati, Ms. Eardley earned a joint J.D./M.A. in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. During law school, she clerked for the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section and at a civil rights firm where she represented victims of racial profiling and employment discrimination.
Ms. Eardley is a Professorial Lecturer at the American University Washington College of Law where she teaches a course about sex-based discrimination. She frequently speaks at national and local events about civil rights and employment issues and she volunteers with the D.C. Employment Justice Center.
In 2013, Ms. Eardley was selected as a SuperLawyers Rising Star, an honor that recognizes outstanding attorneys under the age of 40 who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.