The big news today is that Mayor Michael Bloomberg was able to walk away from a class-action lawsuit filed by pregnant women and new mothers coming back to work at his company Bloomberg L.P. The company was accused of systematically reducing the pay of expecting women or those returning from maternity leave as well demoting them and excluding them from important meetings. A judge dismissed the case on the grounds that the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had relied too much on anecdotal evidence rather than hard numbers.
According to The New York Times, Judge Loretta A. Preska of United States District Court in Manhattan also observed that ”the law does not mandate ”˜work-life balance,” and that Bloomberg and his company did not treat mothers any differently than other employees who took leaves of absence. Therefore, no discrimination took place. She also had some very strong thoughts on work-life balance:
”A female employee is free to choose to dedicate herself to the company at any cost, and, so far as this record suggests, she will rise in this organization accordingly,” she wrote. ”The law does not require companies to ignore or stop valuing ultimate dedication, however unhealthy that may be for family life.”…She quoted Jack Welch, the former chief executive of General Electric, saying: ”There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.”
Everyone makes choices with regards to their career, as evidenced by the many women who choose to quit their careers after giving birth as well as those who decide to stay. But dragging children and the dedication to one’s family into those parameters seems like a little much. And for a country that always seems to boast about upholding “family values,” we often don’t see that credo reflected in our workplace policies that prioritize maximum profits over letting a mother properly bond with her child.
So what do you think, mommies?