A judge recently sided with Bloomberg LP in a class action lawsuit brought against the financial services company by the Equal Employee Opportunity Commission in 2007.
EEOC's suit alleged Bloomberg discriminated against women in its workforce by cutting pay and diminishing responsibilities for mothers returning from maternity leave, as well as preventing mothers from ascending to management.
In rendering her decision, U.S. District Judge Loretta Park said U.S. law does not guarantee the right to a healthy work-life balance. She stated she did not find any pattern of discriminatory behavior on the part of Bloomberg, though individual cases of discrimination may have occurred.
Civil rights groups and other activists have objected to the decision, calling it regressive. Speaking to the Toronto Star, Rotman School of Management professor Jennifer Berdahl said the judge's ruling went too far in protecting companies' rights to make advancement decisions based on their corporate culture.
"If the culture is evaluating people on non-merit based criteria, like choices they make at home and not on performance, then that culture is breaking the law,” she said.
But Debra Raskin, a New York City attorney, told the New York Times the judge correctly interpreted the law, which does not require companies to treat pregnant women or mothers in any particular way, except to offer maternity leave as stipulated by the Family Medical Leave Act.