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 lawsuit was filed in September 2007, and alleged that Bloomberg L.P. discriminated against working mothers and pregnant women by, among other things, reducing their compensation, demoting them, and excluding them from meetings.
Judge Preska rejected EEOC’s reliance on anecdotal evidence of discrimination as the basis for a claim that Bloomberg L.P. had engaged in a “pattern or practice” of pregnancy discrimination.
Although the EEOC lost on its class-based claims, it is still able to proceed with individual claims of discrimination on behalf of the claimants. Nevertheless, the Court’s rejection of the “pattern or practice” claim will make it extremely difficult for the EEOC to prove that each of the claimants suffered individual instances of discrimination.
The Court’s decision prompted concerned remarks from the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women, and the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Bloomberg, L.P. was founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.