Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bloomberg Maternity Leave Discrimination Update

Mayor Bloomberg Bares His Fangs to Female Attorney During Testimony in a Major Federal Lawsuit Alleging the Mayor's Company Was Sexist and Discriminated Against Scores and Scores of Women, Who Took Maternity Leave.

In the summer before the 2009 mayoral election, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was deposed twice -- for a total of almost 8 hours -- in connection with a major federal, class-action lawsuit brought by 65 employees of the mayor's media empire. The employees have accused the mayor's company of systematically discriminating against pregnant women, who took maternity leave.

To no one's surprise, the details of the mayor's shocking deposition testimony were somehow suppressed before his embarrassingly little win in the November 2009 election.

During some of his testimony, the mayor gave a lot of nasty attitude to a female attorney, Kam S. Wong, who worked at the time for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and who questioned the mayor. It is not clear from an article about deposition excepts published by The New York Times if Ms. Wong questioned the mayor in both of the depositions.

The Times describes the mayor's attitude toward the female attorney as ''patronizing,'' ''unsympathetic,'' as well as ''sarcastic,'' and, at ''one point in his testimony,'' Mayor Bloomberg also ''mocked'' Ms. Wong.

The Times reported that excerpts of the mayor's deposition testimony showed numerous examples of ''moments of thrust and parry, irritability and self-assuredness bordering on cockiness,'' which ''are perhaps the most striking parts of Mr. Bloomberg’s deposition in a federal discrimination lawsuit against Bloomberg L.P., the giant financial services and media corporation that he founded.''

At one point, when Ms. Wong read a portion of Mayor Bloomberg's memoir into the record, which was about how the mayor held grudges against employees who took leave from his company, the mayor became patronising and belittling to Ms. Wong. Instead of addressing the subject of how the mayor's company treated employees, who took leave from his company, the mayor was sarcastic about how Ms. Wong actually read the portion of the book.

“Your reading is good,” the mayor retorted, according to The Times.

The federal, class action lawsuit covers a period of time in his company's office culture after Mr. Bloomberg had already become mayor. The Times reported that recent legal filings by the E.E.O.C. indicate what the commission ''asserts to be a pattern among company executives, not only of bias, but also of outright hostility toward women who took maternity leave, with some executives suggesting that they did not deserve to work for Bloomberg L.P.'' In his defense, the mayor said that he ''lost track'' of what was going on at Bloomberg L.P., after he became mayor, in spite of the fact that Mayor Bloomberg is an infamous control queen, who is obsessed with mayoral control over everything that he gets involved with, be it snow removal or the CityTime project.

In spite of his supposed defense, Bloomberg L.P. has a reputation for being a good old time ''boys’ club.'' In one example, The Times reported that Mayor Bloomberg was alleged to have compared women taking maternity leave with men wanting to take time off from work to play golf -- in other words, in the mayor's mind, maternity leave was a foolish expectation that pregnant women had, namely, to get paid for goofing off. In another example, whilst Mayor Bloomberg still controlled his company, Mr. Bloomberg was outright sued by an employee. The employee alleged that after she became pregnant, Mr. Bloomberg personally made a demand that she have an abortion. The Times reported that, at the time, Mr. Bloomberg told her to just, “Kill it!” Supposedly, Mr. Bloomberg adamantly denied any wrongdoing in the abortion case, and The Times reported that the abortion case was settled ''out of court for an undisclosed amount.''

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