Thursday, August 18, 2011

Employers Do Not Engage In A Pattern Of Discrimination Against Women For Considering Time Off For Family And Maternity Leave In Giving Promotions And Raises

Employers who use employees' time off for family and maternity leave are not engaged in a pattern of discrimination against women, according to U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in her decision dismissing an EEOC complaint against Bloomberg LP.

From The Wall Street Journal "U.S. Loses Bloomberg Sex-Bias Lawsuit" by Chad Bray:
In its lawsuit filed in 2007, the EEOC alleged that Bloomberg reduced pay for pregnant women or women who just returned from maternity leave, demoted them, excluded them from management or subjected them to stereotypes about female caregivers in violation of U.S. law.

Judge Preska acknowledged that individuals who decide to spend more time with their families might face hurdles to advancement in the workplace. But, she added, that doesn't necessarily equate to discrimination under the law.

"In a company like Bloomberg, which explicitly makes all-out dedication its expectation, making a decision that preferences family over work comes with consequences," the judge said. "But those consequences occur for anyone who takes significant time away from Bloomberg, not just for pregnant women and mothers."

The judge didn't rule on individual claims of discrimination and asked the parties to inform her how they plan to proceed with those claims. Six women are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit and the EEOC has identified 78 women in total who have claims of discrimination.

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