Goldman Sachs recently settled a lawsuit based on violations of the Family Medical Leave Act. The lawsuit was filed by a former female vice president who alleged she was forced on a track with the company that offered fewer opportunities for advancement after having her first child in February 2005. The former vice president claims she was also fired after she chose a part-time work schedule after becoming pregnant.
According to the lawsuit's complaint, the woman joined Goldman Sachs in 1998 as an associate. The woman was promoted to vice president of the company's in-house training program within two years. The lawsuit was filed in March 2010 and claims the opportunities to advance within the company vanished once the woman was on maternity leave in February 2005. The former vice president also claimed that when she came back to work in a part-time capacity, the company only offered lower positions that made it more difficult to earn a higher income and to advance. Before returning from a second maternity leave in 2008 she claimed she lost her role as vice president and lost her office before being fired.
The woman's attorney argues that Goldman did not offer the woman a return to her full-time employment after maternity leave and pushed her onto an unequal "mommy-track." A mommy track is a colloquialism used to describe a work structure that offers flexibility for motherly duties but offers fewer choices for advancement. The Family Medical Leave Act provides unpaid leave for 12 weeks per year and requires employers to provide eligible workers the same position upon return. If an employee's position is not available upon return, the employer must provide the employee with a position that has comparable pay, benefits and duties.
Source: Bloomberg, "Goldman, BofA, Berger, Deutsche Bank in Court News," Elizabeth Amon, 11/8/10