New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg Testifies in Pregnancy Discrimination Case

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 15, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg Testifies in Pregnancy Discrimination Case

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 15
, 2009

New York, NY ( — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg testified on Thursday in a case where his company is accused of fostering a climate of pregnancy discrimination. Bloomberg has long been one of the most staunch abortion advocates in the country, going as far as requiring all medical students there to learn how to do abortions.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against his company, Bloomberg News, in October 2007. The suit says Bloomberg condoned "systemic, top-down discrimination against female employees."

Three women who are high-level executives at Bloomberg brought the pregnancy discrimination lawsuit against the mayor.

Tanys Lancaster, Janet Loures and Jill Patricot said they were subjected to unfair demotions and decreased compensation and were denied advancement after becoming pregnant.

In one complaint, Bloomberg allegedly told a leading saleswoman, "Kill it" when he found out she was pregnant.

The New York Post indicated Bloomberg himself gave a deposition to attorneys Thursday morning that lasted several hours.

The EEOC lawsuit, filed on behalf of more than 80 women, said the company "is responsible for the creation of the systemic, top-down culture of discrimination which exists within Bloomberg, and…has been sued in the past…by several female executives who have alleged in their lawsuits that a hostile environment exists for women at Bloomberg."

The female employees described the Bloomberg company culture as one that "prizes physical image and once female executives announce that they are pregnant and/or become new mothers, they fall into disfavor."

The women said they were paid less after returning from maternity leave and demoted and replaced with male employees once they returned.

Bloomberg L.P. has denied the allegations, which say the pregnancy discrimination occurred shortly after Bloomberg left the company in 2001 for his first mayoral run.

A Bloomberg spokesman told Reuters after the lawsuit was filed that he no longer has day-to-day control over his company and hasn’t since becoming mayor in 2001. Through the spokesperson, Bloomberg called the lawsuit a "publicity stunt."

This isn’t the first pregnancy discrimination charge against Bloomberg.

In 1997, a female executive employee said that the mayor urged her to have an abortion after she got pregnant. He also is alleged to have complained about the number of pregnant women at his company.

The mayor settled the case out of court and did not admit any wrongdoing.

According to New York-based EEOC regional attorney Elizabeth Grossman the number of pregnancy discrimination cases is on the rise.

She says pregnancy discrimination charges filed with the EEOC and state and local agencies jumped 45 percent, from 3,385 to a record 4,901 between 1992 and 2006.

"We’re seeing more reports because pregnant women are aware of their rights and willing to fight for them," Grossman told Reuters.

"What’s surprising to me is when employers don’t want to let women come back to work after maternity leave or sometimes they come back and get demoted," she said.

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