A New York Attorney Is Sued by Her Own Law Firm for ‘Quiet Quitting’

Workplace trends like "quiet quitting" have gained steam in recent months. Now, they're leading to lawsuits.

New York City office building, some office workers working through windows on different floors
Is quiet quitting leading to public termination? (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

A New York attorney is being sued by her employer for “quiet quitting,” a term for workers who don’t leave their job but do the bare minimum and instead focus their time on external activities.

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Napoli Shkolnik, a New York-based personal injury law firm yesterday (Feb. 23) filed a lawsuit against Heather Palmore, an attorney who is still employed at the firm. Palmore is accused of taking “advantage of the new remote work environment to ‘quiet quit’ her job,” according to the complaint.

The law firm claims that Palmore’s computer records show she only spent a few minutes a day on her computer throughout the majority of 2023. The attorney, who was first hired in October 2021, additionally submitted falsified daily reports that said she spent hours on legal research and drafting documents, including one stating she had worked seven hours in the future, said the complaint.

In the past five months, Palmore has also allegedly refused to come into work, get approval for time off or provide any updates on her cases. Napoli Shkolnik said further evidence of Palmore’s “quiet quitting” includes a medical malpractice case she worked on in November 2021 where she gave an eight-minute long opening statement, “when typical opening statements in plaintiff medical malpractice cases are approximately one to two hours long,” according to court filings.

The lawsuit focuses on two new workplace trends

The company is additionally accusing Palmore of running her own law firm while working for Napoli Shkolnik, therefore participating in another  workplace trend of employees secretly working multiple jobs.

“Ms. Palmore wrongfully joined both trends, collecting one of the most substantial draws in the entire firm from Napoli Shkolnik, while performing little to no work for Napoli Shkolnik, and while directly competing with the firm by simultaneously running Defendant Palmore Law Group,” reads the complaint.

The law firm alleged Palmore breached her employee contract and fiduciary duty of loyalty, and is seeking to strike her compensation during the “period of disloyalty/breach of contract,” which exceeds $400,000.

According to Lucas Markowitz, a lawyer representing Napoli Shkolnik, Palmore began defaming the firm after it uncovered her behavior in an attempt to extort additionally money.

However, David Gottlieb, an attorney representing Palmore, said Napoli Shkolnik’s lawsuit was only filed in response to claims of discrimination Palmore has raised against the firm and an upcoming action she has been planning to file.

“This preemptive lawsuit is a transparent and ill-advised attempt to try to gain some perceived strategic advantage, but is obviously an act of blatant retaliation,” said Gottlieb in an emailed statement. “We will be moving forward with Ms. Palmore’s lawsuit in short order, which will include claims based on this retaliatory conduct.”

A New York Attorney Is Sued by Her Own Law Firm for ‘Quiet Quitting’