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A former special counsel with DLA Piper Australia has lodged a $630,000 harassment claim against the partnership of the firm.Senior Brisbane lawyer Kathie Sadler, now at Thomsons Lawyers, lodged…

A former special counsel with DLA Piper Australia has lodged a $630,000 harassment claim against the partnership of the firm.

Senior Brisbane lawyer Kathie Sadler, now at Thomsons Lawyers,lodged the Supreme Court claim last month through Kerin Lawyers.

She is seeking damages against the firm, which recently won a contract to review a series of abuse allegations inthe Australian Defence Force.

Sadler, who was a special counsel within DLA Piper's corporate and financial business services unit from May 2006 until she resigned in April, alleges she was harassed by one of the firm's partners, Martin McEniery.

In the court documents, Sadler says she was the victim of a "constructive dismissal" by the law firm after years in which she felt threatened, intimidated and verbally and physically abused at work.

She alleges McEniery pushed against her in a stairwell, physically threatened her, made derogatory comments about her professional ability and swore at her.

She also claims the partnership failed to thoroughly investigate her complaints or take action, and that when she complained to another Brisbane partner, Alex Guy, he told her she should "make a nice morning tea and bring it in to build bridges".

When contacted by Lawyers Weekly, DLA Piper responded with a statement which said the claim was without merit and the firm would defend it through the court process.

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