Pregnancy Bias Suit: 72 Moms vs. Bloomberg

Complaint: Bloomberg created a 'culture of discrimination' at his company.

ByABC News
October 2, 2008, 5:14 PM

Oct. 3, 2008— -- New York City Mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg will have to answer allegations of pregnancy bias at the company he owns while he seeks a third term. 72 current and former female employees who became pregnant while working at Bloomberg LP, the financial news service, claim the company discriminated against them by decreasing their pay, demoting them, and excluding them from other employment opportunities after they became pregnant.

One complaint alleges that a Bloomberg senior executive, upon learning that two of his female executives had become pregnant, remarked "I'm not having any pregnant b-tches working for me" and instructed another executive to terminate them.

Another complaint alleges that female employees at Bloomberg LP were subjected "to stereotypes regarding female caregivers" through comments such as "You are not committed" and "You do not want to be here" when they returned from maternity leave.

The suit began when three current and former female employees brought charges of discrimination to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claiming the company has a "systemic, top-down culture of discrimination" that was created by Mr. Bloomberg himself.

The EEOC then issued a determination saying their investigation showed that the women's careers "lost momentum" after they became pregnant and that they "were transferred, displaced, and /or demoted."

The EEOC filed suit against the company last year and reached out to around 500 female employees who took maternity leave between February 2002 and the present. 72 have joined the class and that number could rise.

"This case should send a message to other employers and employees that they should not make any stereotypical assumptions that employees who become pregnant or mothers are less committed to their jobs," said Kam Wong, lead counsel on the case for the EEOC. The EEOC's suit is before the Federal District court in Manhattan, where Bloomberg LP is based.

The three women who brought the initial charges to the EEOC have since joined the EEOC's case and their complaint references previous lawsuits that have been filed against Mr. Bloomberg himself by several female executives alleging a hostile work environment for women at his company.