Ellen Eardley is a partner in the firm’s civil rights practice. Ms. Eardley litigates a variety of complex civil rights matters, including race and gender discrimination cases, and has negotiated settlement agreements that require significant changes in the policies and practices of large corporations. Her work includes consulting, legislative and administrative policy, representing non-profit clients, and teaching. She has expertise regarding Title VII, Title IX, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, strategic diversity planning, and sex-based violence.
Her previous class action cases include Carter v. Wells Fargo Advisors ($33 million and significant improvement to policies impacting female financial advisors) and Norflet v. John Hancock Life Insurance ($24 million in relief to African-American consumers who alleged discrimination in the sale of life insurance). Currently Ms. Eardley represents workers who claim that Walmart’s pregnancy policies violate civil rights laws. After the workers filed a complaint with a federal agency, Walmart announced changes to its pregnancy accommodation policy.
Well-seasoned in mediation and alternative dispute resolution, Ms. Eardley has recovered millions of dollars for employees in confidential negotiations with their employers. Recently, she privately resolved a client’s claims that involved sexual assault in the workplace.
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 a firm in Washington, D.C. From 2003-2005, 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 called Sex-Based Discrimination. She frequently speaks at national and local events about civil rights and employment issues. During the Fall of 2014, she wrote an amici curiae brief on behalf of state and local legislators in the pregnancy discrimination case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc.
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. In 2014 and 2015, she earned SuperLawyer designation.