“Avon reaps millions in profits from a female consumer base that undoubtedly believes Avon’s ‘champion of women’ mantra. Avon does not deserve such profit when it recklessly tramples on the reproductive health of its own female employees with impunity.” -Ruiz v. New Avon LLC, (2018)
Avon holds itself out to be “the company for women” — unless you’re pregnant, a new lawsuit alleges.
On Wednesday, October 3, 2018, Wigdor LLP filed a lawsuit on behalf of beauty industry executive Caroline Ruiz alleging that New Avon LLC (“Avon”) unlawfully discriminated against Ms. Ruiz by terminating her employment just days after she disclosed her high-risk pregnancy to her male boss.
As alleged, Ms. Ruiz had been working as Avon’s Global Head of North America Indirect Procurement for approximately three weeks when she was rushed to the hospital and learned that her pregnancy was considered “high-risk.” High-risk pregnancies involve a high likelihood that the pregnancy will result in a miscarriage. According to the Complaint, Ms. Ruiz’s doctor recommended that she remain on bedrest for the following week to reduce her risk of miscarriage, and forwarded her doctor’s note to Avon’s Human Resources requesting to work from home for one week. It is common for Avon employees to work remotely for far less compelling reasons, the lawsuit alleges.
The Complaint shockingly alleges that Avon denied Ms. Ruiz’s request to work from home and immediately began fabricating “performance issues” as pretext to terminate her employment. The following Monday, Avon put Ms. Ruiz’s health and pregnancy at risk by forcing her to commute to work only to terminate her that very afternoon.
The lawsuit notes that Avon’s decision to terminate Ms. Ruiz’s employment on the basis of her pregnancy is in direct conflict with its purported mission to inspire the financial independence, health and wellbeing of women. Additionally, Avon’s executive leadership is comprised almost entirely of white men, and of the 18 members of Avon’s Management Committee, just 5 are women, according to the Complaint.
Today, Wigdor LLP filed a lawsuit alleging that Avon, the beauty brand that claims to inspire the financial independence, health & wellbeing of women, terminated its newly-hired Global Head of Procurement just days after she disclosed her high-risk pregnancy to her male boss.
— Douglas Wigdor – Wigdor Law (@WigdorLaw) October 3, 2018
Statement from Jeanne M. Christensen, Partner at Wigdor LLP:
“Avon boasts that it is a company dedicated to empowering women. But as alleged in the complaint, Avon abhorrently fired our client simply because she disclosed her pregnancy. Such overt discrimination is intolerable by any company, but is even more disturbing when the company is Avon – an alleged leader for women. What will the all-male leadership at Avon do to right this wrong against their own female employee?”