Mothers Work Inc.: Brand Image and Accusations of Employment Discrimination
In this case, Mothers Work Inc., a leading designer, producer, and vendor of maternity clothing, is accused of pregnancy discrimination. Cynthia Papageorge, a former manager at one of the company's stores, said she was fired after the company vice president, Frank Mullay, made a surprise inspection. She claimed that Mullay questioned whether she was capable of doing her job in her "condition". Days later, Mullay allegedly directed Papageorge's supervisor, Jan Dowe, to fire her, who was later also fired for inadequate job performance after taking maternity leave. It is clear to me that despite several laws in place to prevent this particular type of discrimination, Mothers Work Inc. was either blatantly ignoring the law, or not actively ensuring these laws were being upheld. Evidence of such careless disregard is seen in the history of discrimination cases against the company. In at least two prior cases, Mothers Work Inc. was accused of similar discriminatory practices regarding pregnant employees. In a corporation whose market is pregnant women, it is shocking that allegations, such as these, were made at all, let alone several times in the past. Clearly, some violation of the rights of these women were committed, whether the organization promoted it, or simply turned a blind eye to the behavior of their executive team. The facts of the case also provided me with further proof of my suspicion that Mothers Work Inc. was accurately portrayed as discriminatory. Vice President Frank Mullay claimed he found deficiencies in Papageorge’s stores. In a corporation that is expected to be highly sensitive to pregnant women, Mullay should have been trained to make decisions based on merit and not assumptions. Before deciding to terminate his employees, Mullay should have engaged in a thorough review, allowing other executives to participate and offer opinions instead of the having...
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