Eric Landau, a prominent Irvine, California-based securities litigator whose alleged sexist behavior was highlighted in $200 million proposed gender bias class action filed against Jones Day earlier this month, has departed the firm.
The exact timing of his exit is uncertain. An email sent to his firm address prompted a return message stating that he is “no longer with Jones Day.” Data from ALM’s Legal Compass indicates the firm took down his bio and a related page Jan. 16, well before the complaint was filed, but it’s unclear whether he left the firm at that time or later.
Landau did not immediately respond to email and telephone messages seeking comment, and a spokesperson for the firm also did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Landau joined the firm in 2008 from McDermott Will & Emery.
Landau was not named as a defendant in the recent lawsuit, which alleged systematic discrimination against women attorneys and mothers. But both named plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Nilab Rahyar Tolton and Andrea Mazingo, highlighted Landau’s alleged actions in their 107-page complaint.
The pair, along with four other unnamed former associates, accused the firm of widespread gender bias, claiming its “black box” compensation model, leadership structure and culture serve to deny women equal pay and opportunity for advancement.
Mazingo worked in Jones Day’s securities litigation and SEC enforcement practice group with Landau and accused him of treating her like a “sex object,” subjecting her to sexist comments about her makeup, hair and choice of footwear, including pushing her to wear more high heels.
She said that he also drew attention to the appearance of other women employees at the firm, noting one time he highlighted how “banging” his secretary’s body looked in a bikini at an event planned to honor the secretary.
On another occasion, Mazingo described how she had been forced to display a four-foot tall cardboard cut-out of a lipstick tube in her office, signaling that she was responsible for planning the office’s next women’s luncheon. After Landau asked about the cut-out and Mazingo explained the backstory, he allegedly responded: “Oh, I thought it was because you are a lipstick lawyer.” In the complaint, Mazingo painted this comment as an allusion to the term “lipstick lesbian.”
Tolton, a commercial litigator, said Landau was trying to recruit her into his practice group and accused him of regularly commenting on her clothes and high heels. She pointed to one occasion after a deposition when he allegedly remarked that partners at his former firm kept asking him why his female associates all looked like volleyball players. She also said that Landau abruptly lost interest in working with her after she was married.
Several other partners and associates also accused of sexist conduct in the complaint remain listed as attorneys on the firm’s website.
Jones Day waited several days to respond to the lawsuit, before issuing a statement vowing to fight the claims and touting its commitment to women’s inclusion and advancement.
The firm’s defense counsel in the case has yet to enter an appearance in Washington, D.C., federal court.
Rose Walker in London contributed reporting.