Becoming pregnant can be one of the most joyous occasions for women in Massachusetts. Sadly, for some it can also mean the end of an otherwise promising career. Although retaliating against an employee for becoming pregnant is an act of workplace discrimination, some employers continue to treat pregnant workers unfairly.
After spending approximately 12 years working for Jeffries Group, an employee was under the impression that she was one of the company's top picks for future managing directors. Still, she was concerned that her pregnancy might be viewed unfavorably by her superiors, and she put off telling anyone at her workplace for as long as possible. Her supervisor's immediate response to her pregnancy was to offer a less demanding job. She turned down the offer and stated that she was happy on her path toward becoming a managing director. The next superior that she informed offered her the same deal, which she also declined.
After several months passed, she was accused of slowing down in her work, which resulted in her being denied her typical year-end bonus. However, the previous year she had brought in about $1 million less revenue and had still been awarded the end-of-year bonus. She could not understand why she had been denied the bonus despite improving the annual revenue she created for the bank, and was especially confused when her co-workers who had failed to bring in any type of revenue were given bonuses.
She ultimately left the company while on maternity leave, an act she felt forced into based on the ongoing workplace discrimination, and has since filed suit. Although Jeffries Group claims that the former employee left of her own volition, discrimination against women -- particularly pregnant women -- is still an ongoing issue in investment banking. In 2013 alone, 97 complaints concerning pregnancy discrimination hit the finance industry. Holding these types of institutions accountable for their actions is not only effective at achieving compensation for direct victims, but also for creating more acceptable work environments in which all Massachusetts employees can expect to be treated with respect.
Source: thinkprogress.org, "Investment Bank Allegedly Retaliated Against Employee After She Announced Her Pregnancy", Bryce Covert, Aug. 19, 2016