EEOC Says Financial Services Giant Demoted Class of Pregnant Women, Reduced Their Pay
NEW YORK, N.Y.– Bloomberg L.P., the news and financial services company, violated federal law by discriminating against a class of female employees who became pregnant and took maternity leave, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges in a lawsuit filed today under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
In its suit, the EEOC asserts that Bloomberg engaged in a pattern or practice of demoting and reducing the pay of female employees after they announced their pregnancies and after they took maternity leave. Some women were replaced by more junior male employees, the EEOC says. The lawsuit also alleges that the same pregnant women and new mothers were excluded from management meetings and subjected to stereotyping about their abilities to do their jobs because of their family and caregiver responsibilities. Complaints made by the women to Bloomberg’s human resources department were dismissed.
The EEOC filed its lawsuit (Civil Action No. 07- CIV 8383) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The suit seeks monetary relief; an order requiring the company to implement new policies and practices to prevent discrimination; training on anti-discrimination laws; posting of notices at the work site; and other injunctive relief.
“Employers need to be aware that it is unlawful to discriminate against women based on their pregnancy or act on stereotypes concerning their roles as caregivers,” said EEOC’s New York District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. “No working woman should be forced to choose between motherhood and her livelihood.”
EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Raechel L. Adams added, “This case exemplifies an increasing trend where employers engage in stereotyping of female caregivers and act to limit their employment opportunities. Pregnant women and mothers who work hard and perform well should be valued for their work, not penalized for their gender.”
According to its web site, www.bloomberg.com, “The New York-based company employs more than 9,000 people in more than 125 offices around the world.”
Pregnancy discrimination charges filed with the EEOC and state/local agencies nationwide have risen from 3,385 in 1992 to a record high of 4,900 in 2006. The EEOC recently issued new enforcement guidance entitled Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities, which is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/caregiving.html.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC can be found on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.