Former Account Executive Sues NBA for Pregnancy and Gender Discrimination

A former senior account executive with the National Basketball Association (NBA) has filed a federal lawsuit against her former employer, accusing the league of discriminating against her and two other women because of their pregnancies and childcare responsibilities. Her complaint describes a hostile work environment that developed around “working mothers,” and discriminatory compensation and scheduling. Federal, state, and city law in New York City prohibit gender discrimination, including discrimination based on pregnancy and health conditions related to pregnancy.

Brynn Cohn, who resides in Hoboken, New Jersey, worked for the NBA for about a decade. She was a senior account manager for the print group of the NBA’s Department of Creative Services in Secaucus. She went on short-term pregnancy leave in June 2010, which she later extended pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In September 2010, while Cohn was still on leave, the NBA allegedly changed the print group’s hours. While the group had worked a 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. schedule, she claims she returned to work to find that the group had to work from noon to 8:00 p.m. two days a week. Cohn alleges that there was no legitimate business purpose behind the change in hours. Because of the added cost of childcare needed to accommodate the changed hours, Cohn claims, she and two other female employees were forced to resign in December 2010 and January 2011.

Cohn further alleges that the work environment of the NBA was overtly hostile to female employees with children. She described “eye rolling and snide comments,” as well as pay disparities and denials of promotions. She also alleges that the NBA returned her group to normal business hours after her resignation. She claims that the change in hours was at least partly intended to compel her and other similarly-situated employees to resign, and that no one ever informed them that the change was temporary.

The lawsuit, filed in a Manhattan federal court on October 23, 2012, names the NBA and two subsidiaries, NBA Entertainment, Inc. and NBA Properties, Inc., as defendants. It alleges violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in employment based on a number of factors, including gender. Pregnancy discrimination is generally considered to be a form of discrimination based on gender. The suit also asserts causes of action for violations of the FMLA, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and certain New Jersey statutes. New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination includes pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment in its list of prohibited forms of gender discrimination. In that, it is very similar to the New York State and New York City Human Rights Laws.

At Phillips & Associates, we work to safeguard the rights of employees and job seekers in the New York City area who have experienced pregnancy discrimination and other forms of employment discrimination in violation of federal, state, and local laws. Contact us today online or at (212) 248-7431 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Visual Effects Artist Accuses Film Producer of Pregnancy Discrimination, New York Employment Attorney Blog, November 16, 2012
EEOC Issues Pregnancy Discrimination Warning to Employers Who Screen Job Applicants’ Social Media Profiles, New York Employment Attorney Blog, October 19, 2012
Former Bank VP Adds Retaliation Claim to Pending New York Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit, New York Employment Attorney Blog, October 5, 2012

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