A former Jones Day associate who is now an in-house attorney for Facebook has joined a gender bias lawsuit against Jones Day, making her the third named plaintiff in the case.
The lawyer, Jessica Jardine Wilkes, was an associate at Jones Day from October 2014 to September 2016, and is now product counsel at Facebook in Menlo Park according to her LinkedIn profile and state bar records.
Employment class action firm Sanford Heisler Sharp brought the case against Jones Day in April on behalf of former associates Nilab Rahyar Tolton and Andrea Mazingo, as well as four anonymous women. Lawyers at Sanford Heisler and Jones Day argued in Washington, D.C., federal district court last month over whether the unidentified women should be able to keep their anonymity in advance of any trial.
The proposed class action seeks as much as $200 million from Jones Day for what the plaintiffs allege was systematic discrimination against women attorneys. Jones Day has countered that it has a strong record of advancing women’s careers, calling the lawsuit meritless.
Jones Day labor and employment partner Terri Chase indicated at a hearing in the case last month that the plaintiffs may be preparing to amend their complaint with additional women accusers. U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss subsequently asked for a joint status report by June 19 that would explain whether Sanford Heisler intended to add additional accusers or claims. The firm filed documents Sunday showing that Wilkes had agreed to become a named plaintiff.
After she left Jones Day, Wilkes joined Symantec, where she was corporate counsel from September 2016 until August 2018, according to her LinkedIn profile. She moved to Facebook in September 2018.
Wilkes did not respond to a request for comment. Sanford Heisler partner Deborah Marcuse, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, wasn’t immediately available to comment on whether additional plaintiffs may be joining the suit.
The next deadline in the gender bias case is June 12, when Moss ordered Sanford Heisler to provide declarations from two of the four unidentified women accusers supporting their request to remain hidden from the public. Moss has allowed Jones Day to disclose the women’s names to the extent needed to investigate and answer their claims.