According to a New York Times article, six former female employees are suing Jones Day for gender and pregnancy discrimination. As one of the world’s largest and high-profile law firms, many are closely watching the developments in this case against Jones Day.
In the lawsuit, the female plaintiffs allege that the firm hires about the same number of men and women associate attorneys. However, the female lawyers claim that company management delegates the best work to men, unequally rewards men with higher compensation and offers more promotional opportunities to men.
Alleged egregious behavior
Nilab Rahyar Tolton and Andrea Mazingo are two women named in the Jones Day lawsuit, and both worked in the firm’s Irvine, California office. In the suit, Tolton stated when she returned to the office after maternity leave managers imposed a salary freeze, delivered a poor performance review and offered her fewer opportunities. According to Mazingo, male employees sexually harassed and verbally abused her.
The behavior alleged in the lawsuit is appalling. As the article states, male employees made sexist and sexualized comments about the women’s clothing and appearance. The suit also claims female employees with children were not considered equal or dedicated to the work. Management terminated some women with children without cause.
Pregnancy and maternity lawsuits are not uncommon. While women have been vital members of the workforce for more than 50 years, women working for many businesses across many industries and businesses still struggle to balance the demands of work and family. Under the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, pregnant women and mothers have protected status in the workplace. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, it’s illegal for employer or individual to retaliate against a woman based on pregnancy, participating in an investigation or filing a discrimination charge.