U.S. District Court Judge Vernon Broderick recently denied a motion by Thomson Reuters Corp. (“Thomson Reuters”) to defeat a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by Wigdor LLP client Pricilla Saraf, paving the way for a July 2019 trial in Manhattan federal court.
Ms. Saraf, who worked for Thomson Reuters as a Business Development Executive in its expert witness services division, alleges that she was the victim of pregnancy discrimination after she was fired within weeks of disclosing her pregnancy to her supervisor. Ms. Saraf alleges that after she announced her pregnancy, she was immediately questioned about how much time off she would need, and how her sales accounts would be covered in her absence. Ms. Saraf further alleges that, within 24 hours of this meeting, she received an ominous email from her supervisor counseling her about her performance — the first such email she received. Then, two weeks later, Ms. Saraf was abruptly notified that her position was being terminated as a result of a restructuring, even though a lesser performing employee who was not pregnant was retained and assigned to take over Ms. Saraf’s sales territory.
In a 34-page decision, Judge Broderick denied Thomson Reuters’ motion for summary judgment as to Ms. Saraf’s pregnancy discrimination claim under the New York City Human Rights law, her claims of retaliation and interference under the Family Medical Leave Act, and her breach of contract claim related to unpaid commissions, finding that there was enough evidence in the record for a jury to find that Ms. Saraf’s termination was motivated by pregnancy bias. As a result, it will now be up to a Manhattan federal jury to determine whether Ms. Saraf’s pregnancy was a motivating factor in Thomson Reuters’ decision to end her employment.
Statement from Jeanne M. Christensen and Tanvir H. Rahman:
“No woman should have to choose between continuing her career in her chosen field and starting a family. The Court has decided to allow a jury of Pricilla Saraf’s peers to determine whether her abrupt termination, two weeks after she disclosed her pregnancy, was motivated by her pregnancy. We are confident that a jury will send a message to Thomson Reuters that it can no longer trample upon the rights of women who choose to have both a fulfilling career and a family.”