Despite that employers have become increasingly more aware of blatant employment discrimination in the workplace, pregnancy discrimination continues to thrive. The Huffington Post recently posted an article discussing several pregnancy discrimination cases recently filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). It appears that pregnancy discrimination has become an enforcement priority for the EEOC, which will likely be filing additional cases in the near future.
In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Bloomberg L.P., No. 07 Civ. 8383 (S.D.N.Y. August 16, 2011), Judge Loretta Preska of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, dismissed a claim asserted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of 78 claimants alleging that Bloomberg L.P. engaged in a "pattern or practice" of discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and sex. Judge Preska found insufficient evidence to support the EEOC's position that Bloomberg L.P.'s standard operating procedure included pregnancy discrimination.
The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York recently filed a civil rights action against the Port Chester-Rye Union Free School District, located in Westchester County, New York. The action alleges that the school district discriminated against an employee because of pregnancy.
The employee alleged that when she became pregnant with her first child, she lost her position as chairperson of the Committee on Special Education. She alleges also that she was denied the position when she became pregnant with her second child.
Today, Governor David Patterson signed into law, the New York Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which reflects the first sweeping domestic workers' rights legislation in the nation.
Among other things, the New York law provides for overtime pay to domestic workers, and protection against workplace discrimination and harassment based upon race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, marital status and domestic victim status. The legislation specifically addresses sexual harassment, which is cited as a major problem for domestic workers in New York.
Supreme Court Finds No Pregnancy or Sex Discrimination Based upon Employer's Prior Pension Credit Policy
Earlier this week, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen, holding that an employer did not violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) through a seniority system for pension and other employee benefits that credited an employee with service while out on disability leave, but only provided partial credits to employees who had taken pregnancy leave.
Last fall, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), filed a pregnancy discrimination claim against Bloomberg LP based upon complaints received from three employees. Since that time, the number of women charging Bloomberg LP with pregnancy discrimination has increased to 72. According to New York Magazine, that number constitutes about one in seven of the employees who became pregnant in the last six years. Although Bloomberg LP referred to the initial filing as a "publicity stunt," the increase in the number of employees alleging sexual discrimination renders that characterization extremely difficult to sustain.