Earlier this month, the associate attorneys of a prominent law firm filed a class action complaint for pregnancy discrimination. Morrison & Foerster, LLP is an international law firm employing more than 1000 attorneys all over the world. Some of the firm’s biggest offices are located in California, including offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Its size and reputation, however, could not shield it from one of the largest pregnancy discrimination lawsuits we have seen in recent years.
The class action complaint was filed by multiple female attorneys. The action claims that the law firm intentionally delays promotions and other benefits to pregnant female attorneys. Specifically, the complaint contends that raises and promotions were delayed when pregnant attorneys would go on maternity leave. The complaint alleges that, in effect, it was the law firm’s procedure to hold back pregnant attorneys and deny them opportunities to develop at the firm and earn pay raises.
The complaint acknowledges that the firm offers benefits to pregnant employees that are designed to support them. But, the complaint claims, the law firm “punishes” the employees who take advantage of those benefits by delaying promotions and paying them less than their counterparts.
On the other hand, the complaint alleges, attorneys who are not pregnant and do not have children have better opportunities and mentoring to help them advance in the firm and become partners.
The class action complaint also claims that the law firm is aware of this unfair procedure but has not done enough to remedy it and prevent it from happening in the future.
The action is seeking approximately $100 million in damages. The complaint was filed in federal court in San Francisco, as the three class representatives are employed in California.
If you believe you have been the subject of pregnancy discrimination, or if you feel like you have been otherwise discriminated against at work, please do not hesitate to contact Zakay Law Group, APC for a free consultation.