Pregnancy discrimination is common and affects women in all industries. In today's news, Santander Bank was just sued by a former salesperson who alleges that she was denied accommodations for her pregnancies and then fired as part of an alleged "reduction in force." The plaintiff alleges that this was a lie: the bank hired an unqualified man for her job right after she was fired.
Specifically, the plaintiff, Erin McKenna, alleges that "Between early 2019 and late 2020, McKenna, a successful fixed income and emerging markets salesperson, was pregnant twice. Each pregnancy was considered high risk. McKenna could, however, perform her job with a simple accommodation: the opportunity to work remotely from home." Santander initially allowed her to work remotely, but rescinded their permission and threatened her with termination if she did not show up to work in person. She did what Santander wanted, against her doctor's orders.
Then, Santander cut McKenna's bonus and took away her accounts, "forcing her to effectively start over." "McKenna was told that she was “lucky” to get even the reduced bonuses." She was fired just 18 days after disclosing her second pregnancy to her boss.
Common Patterns of Pregnancy Discrimination
Ms. McKenna's story is sadly common. For professional women, pregnancy discrimination often takes the form of worse job assignments, being reassigned to worse or different accounts, and being terminated for pretextual reasons. In the time of COVID, companies have been using "reductions in force" as an excuse to lay off particular employees for other reasons: because they are pregnant, because they are disabled, or because their benefits are expensive (for instance, because a woman's child will be added to her plan). This is discriminatory. You can read more about proving pregnancy discrimination here.
Talk to an Experienced Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney
Although pregnancy discrimination is common, data suggests that it is also seriously underreported: fewer than 1% of women who experience it bring legal claims. Women are often afraid of additional harm to their careers, or are concerned that a lawsuit will be just another stress on top of taking care of their families or finding a new job. But it is important that women speak up to stop pregnancy discrimination from sidelining women's careers and jeopardizing the economic well-being of their families. A compassionate, experienced pregnancy discrimination attorney can make the process significantly easier and less stressful. And pregnancy discrimination lawsuits can lead to large verdicts and settlements that put you back on track to economic stability.
If you have experienced pregnancy discrimination, contact us today through our website or give us a call at (213) 214-3757 to schedule a free consultation.