Work Life Balance

Iowa Mom Awarded $180,000 In Lawsuit Settlement

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Put one point up for working moms everywhere. Jennifer Wright, an Iowa working mother settled a lawsuit with the state over her 2009 termination. Wright, an employee with the Office of Energy Independence always had positive reviews and performance records. Yet still, her boss continued to question her job dedication and her ability to put in enough hours at work, all because Wright had a young child. Apparently, 50 hour work weeks just weren’t cutting it. Her boss made derogatory comments about working mothers and frequently questioned Jennifer Wright’s job commitment.

There’s a common misperception that working mothers don’t actually want to be at work. Lots of people assume that given the chance, every caring mother would choose to stay home and take care of the kids. Jennifer Wright’s boss seemed to be operating under the assumption that due to her home life, Wright was less dependable and focused on her job.

Although the state did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlement, having any money awarded at all in a major success for working women everywhere. Wright’s lawyer, Melissa Hasso believes that this might be the first sex discrimination case in Iowa that specifically addressed motherhood, as opposed to just gender. Hasso believes that we need to be encouraging and supporting working mothers, as opposed to questioning their abilities simply because they have kids at home.

One of the best parts of this story is that Jennifer Wright already has a new job with the state, in the Department of Natural Resources. So often, employees refuse to press forward with civil rights lawsuits because they fear their future job prospects. No one wants to be labeled a trouble-maker. To hear that Wright has a job with the very state that just paid her a hefty settlement is even more promising. So congratulations Jennifer Wright. I wish you the very best of luck, from one working mom to another.

(Photo: Thinkstock)