No ethical rules are violated when a plaintiffs lawyer in an employment discrimination case communicates directly with another employee of the company if that worker is not in a position of authority and does not communicate regularly with the company’s lawyers, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

In its eight-page unpublished decision in EEOC v. HORA Inc., a unanimous three-judge panel reversed a decision by Eastern District of Pennsylvania Judge Gene E.K. Pratter to disqualify attorney Jana Barnett of Wyomissing, Pa., saying Pratter had abused her discretion by “imposing the severe sanction of disqualification.”

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