One would think that a large law firm with billions of dollars in revenue annually and a presence across the globe would know better than to run afoul of applicable employment discrimination laws, including laws prohibiting pregnancy discrimination and discrimination based on gender. However, Jones Day, one of the world’s biggest firms, recently was on the receiving end of a lawsuit alleging that six associate attorneys, who were all female, were subject to discriminatory treatment. The allegations in the lawsuit include both pregnancy discrimination and gender discrimination.
The allegations are the latest in a series of lawsuits against big corporations from a variety of industries. These complaints all describe how these companies systemically discouraged female employees from having children. For example, women who were planning to have families often found themselves cut out of key business meetings and also overlooked when it came to handing out bonuses.
These latest allegations involve two women who at one point worked in one of Jones Day’s California locations. One woman described how after she returned from a maternity leave, she received a bad evaluation and a freeze on her salary, as well as a reduction in her responsibilities. After needing to take a second leave for childbirth, the firm’s management told her she would need to find a position elsewhere. The other woman involved in the lawsuit and who had ties to California complained of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. She eventually chose to leave Jones Day for another legal position.
Pregnancy discrimination can happen even in businesses where one would think employers would know better. California victims of pregnancy discrimination do have legal options and should consider speaking to an experienced employment law attorney.