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Judge rules against law firm in sanctions motion

Workers are generally entitled to equal pay and other protections based on gender and other attributes. A $100 million lawsuit against the law firm Morrison & Foerster LLP, which was originally founded in California and has an office in Los Angeles, claims that pregnant workers were placed on a "mommy track" that made it difficult to achieve career success. The suit was brought by seven women who have so far remained anonymous. However, the identities of the plaintiffs may need to be revealed if the case proceeds.

The firm filed a legal action of its own against one of the plaintiffs in the case. It claimed that she took action knowing that the claims against the company were baseless. Furthermore, it claimed that the former employee signed a release of claims document before going on leave because of her pregnancy. It sought sanctions against the woman and her attorneys while claiming that her claim should be barred because she negotiated the agreement with the firm.

However, her attorney claimed that she was coerced into signing the agreement because of economic circumstances including being the breadwinner for her family. A judge dismissed the claim for sanctions.

Individuals who are treated differently because of their gender may have grounds to take legal action against their employers. Generally speaking, employers must make accommodations for those who are pregnant or who have recently given birth. This may include allowing an employee to perform light work or giving that person extra time to pump milk. In addition to providing reasonable accommodations, employers cannot retaliate against an employee for taking time off because of a pregnancy or complications related to it. People who have been harmed in such a manner might want to discuss their situation with an attorney.

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Girard Bengali, APC
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