The DLA Piper partner who accused a senior colleague of sexually assaulting her has been placed on leave.
The firm said it’s putting Vanina Guerrero on paid leave while it investigates “serious issues” with her conduct that it called unrelated to her accusations. Earlier this month, Guerrero had said that partner Louis Lehot sexually assaulted her soon after she joined one of the biggest U.S. law firms. DLA Piper told employees last week it decided to “part ways” with Lehot.
“During the course of our investigation into her claims, serious issues were brought to the firm’s attention,” DLA Piper said Wednesday. Its statement didn’t say what those alleged issues are, except that they involved Guerrero’s “conduct towards and involving others at the firm,” are unrelated to her claims about Lehot, and “require a separate investigation.”
DLA Piper told Guerrero that the alleged inappropriate behavior was harassment of “another individual at the firm,” according to a copy of a letter sent to her and her lawyer that was shared with Bloomberg.
“DLA Piper has taken retaliation against female employees that dare speak out about sexual violence to a new stratosphere,” Guerrero’s lawyer, Jeanne Christensen at Wigdor LLP, said in an email. “DLA Piper has not told me, her lawyer, or Ms. Guerrero what she allegedly did.”
Guerrero joined last year. She asked the law firm’s senior leaders to allow her to take her claims to court instead of private arbitration in a letter earlier this month.
DLA Piper told her to stay away from its office and clients. It also shut down her access to email so quickly, her lawyer said, that Guerrero didn’t have a chance to see the letter announcing it was putting her on leave.