Approximately 80 current and former high ranking female executive employees of Bloomberg L.P., a multi-billion dollar news and financial services company, are fighting a class-action pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against the Company. The female employees allege that Bloomberg violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, by engaging in a pattern or practice of demoting and reducing their pay after they became pregnant and returned from maternity leave. Further, the female employees allege that pregnant women and new mothers were excluded from management meetings, denied promotional opportunities, and subjected to stereotyping about their abilities to do their jobs because of preconceived family responsibilities. According to the lawsuit, one female employee received the worst performance review of her career after her first son was born and was then subjected to a hostile work environment with comments such as — “What is this, your third baby?” Although the female executives filed internal complaints of pregnancy discrimination to Bloomberg’s human resources department, Bloomberg refused to take any corrective action.
The female employees allege that Bloomberg created a “systemic, top-down culture of discrimination” by unfairly valuing physical traits of female executives in a discriminatory manner. The Company’s founder, New York City’s Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, testified at his deposition and denied the allegations. If the female executives are successful, the female executive could obtain monetary relief, an order requiring the company to implement new policies and practices to prevent discrimination, training on anti-discrimination laws, posting of notices, and injunctive relief.
The Bloomberg case is just one of many pregnancy discrimination cases across the United States. The number of pregnancy discrimination cases is on the rise and at near record levels. There is a greater awareness of rights afforded to victims of pregnancy discrimination. Pregnancy discrimination is a form of gender discrimination. Call now to learn how our Pregnancy Discrimination Lawyers can protect you in the workplace.
Just as it is illegal to discriminate based on race, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or national origin, it is also illegal to discriminate against or stereotype pregnant women. The United States Supreme Court has noted that women “may not be forced to choose between having a child and having a job.” Title VII prohibits employers from making adverse employment decisions based on stereotypical views of pregnancy and its effect on job performance. For employers, this also means avoiding inappropriate comments about pregnant women. For example, not every woman is going to work part-time after coming back from a maternity leave nor is it proper to make comments that a woman can’t do the job as well as she did before she got pregnant.
This prohibition also extends to pregnancy related inquiries. For example, a pregnancy related inquiry may be treated as evidence of pregnancy discrimination if it later turns out that the pregnant woman was later demoted. Employers should note that that pregnancy testing will implicate the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
In light of this class-action and the recent class action against pharmaceutical giant Novartis, gender and pregnancy discrimination not only exists but is rising. The jury in Novartis clearly sent a message that this type of discrimination won’t be tolerated. If you or someone you care about has been a victim of pregnancy discrimination, call our experienced New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys at (800) 893-9645 to discuss your possible case.
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