LegalReader.com  ·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

News & Politics

Law Firm Hit with Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit by Former Legal Assistant


— June 24, 2020

White & Case, a law firm, was recently hit with a lawsuit alleging pregnancy discrimination.


The suit, which was filed in Manhattan state court by Hanna Kim, alleges the firm violated New York City Human Rights Law for pregnancy, gender, and disability discrimination. Additionally, it accuses the firm of creating a “hostile work environment, failure to accommodate, retaliation, and constructive discharge.” As a result, Kim is seeking unpaid wages per New York labor law.  

Gavel and law books; image by Succo, via Pixabay.com.
Gavel and law books; image by Succo, via Pixabay.com.

What kind of pregnancy discrimination did Kim face, though? Well, according to Kim, there was a pattern of harassment at “that began before she went on parental leave in 2016.” The suit states:

“Plaintiff was subject to severe harassment by the individual defendants as a result of her need to express milk while at the office. This harassment was continuous and ongoing until Plaintiff stopped expressing milk for her child at work in approximately the fall of 2018.”

One of Kim’s managers, Rita Masino, is listed as a defendant in the suit. According to Kim, Masino allegedly “made repeated comments about breastfeeding, including that the plaintiff’s son was a grown-ass boy, that breastfeeding was ‘hink,’ and that formula was invented for a reason.” On top of that, the complaint also claims Masino “made comments about Kim’s breasts and nursing bras.”

As if that wasn’t enough, the suit also alleges that Kim was “prevented from using the firm’s lactation room.” Then, when she attempted to latch her own door for privacy during her pumping sessions, “Carol Grajeda, another supervisor, repeatedly tried to open the door while she was mid-pumping…and Masino allegedly interrupted her by telephone for seemingly minor issues.

To make matters worse, both Grajeda and Masino allegedly told her to “keep her legs closed to prevent additional pregnancies.” Masino also told her she “better not be planning on getting pregnant anytime soon because Grajeda would not put up with that shit,” according to the suit. Then, following a car accident she was in, Kim was harassed by Masino and Grajeda when she requested a “part-time work schedule to accommodate her recovery.

Fed up with the poor treatment and discrimination, Kim voluntarily left the firm earlier this year when she was “denied a bonus for 2019, and her year-end review was repeatedly put off, which she says are signs she was going to be fired.” On top of that, she claims that since her departure, she has not received her “last paycheck or unused vacation days.”

Sources:

Biglaw Pregnancy Discrimination Suit: Plaintiff Says She Was Told To ‘Keep Her Legs Closed’ To Prevent Pregnancy

White & Case accused by ex-paralegal of pregnancy discrimination

Join the conversation!