The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit Thursday against Bloomberg LP, the company founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 1981. The lawsuit, brought on behalf of three senior employees, alleges that the news and financial services company treated pregnant women unfairly by “decreasing their pay, demoting them, diminishing their job duties and excluding them from employment opportunities,” according to the New York Times.
Beginning in 2002, the EEOC claims, a number of women employees who became pregnant or recently gave birth were replaced by junior male employees, were shut out of management meetings, and chastised about their inability to perform their jobs because of familial obligations. According to the lawsuit, the women’s complaints to Bloomberg’s human resources department were dismissed.
Michael R. Bloomberg, current mayor of New York City and potential presidential candidate, founded the company in 1981. In reference to the lawsuit, Mayor Bloomberg responded, “You’ll have to talk to Bloomberg LP. I haven’t worked there, as you know, in an awful long time.” However, he retains a 68 percent stake in the company, the Associated Press reports.
This is not the first sex discrimination lawsuit faced by Bloomberg LP. Another woman Bloomberg employee recently filed suit in Manhattan federal court alleging that she was discriminated against based on her pregnancy and maternity leave. In a 1997 suit, which was ultimately settled, another woman claimed a pattern of discrimination against married women and women with children–in addition to sexual harassment–at the company, according to the AP.
“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,” Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., the New York District Director for the EEOC, told the Times. “No working woman should be forced to choose between motherhood and her livelihood.”