The ruling of the case may be monumental in determining whether pregnancy discrimination laws just cover individuals carrying a baby or whether that can be carried over to their spouses as well.
Steven Van Soeren claimed that he worked for Disney’s streaming service for three years as a product designer. He alleges, in a complaint filed last November that he was let go shortly after taking time away for paternity leave. Van Soeren says that some of the mistreatment at work occurred before he revealed to colleagues that his wife was pregnant leading him to conclude that his computer was hacked. He drew this conclusion after supervisors referenced personal information that according to Van Soeren they wouldn’t have otherwise known about.
Disney has responded to the suit by filing a motion to dismiss with the argument that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as well as New York State Human Rights Law, only provides protection to the pregnant employee, not the spouses.
In their response Disney says, “First, the Complaint does not contain a single specific factual allegation that a similarly situated female was treated more favorably than the Plaintiff,” argues Disney’s lawyer Helene Hechtkopf, later shrugging off some of the comments made by plaintiff’s former colleagues as an insufficient basis of discrimination.
This news comes hot on the heels of today’s Supreme Court decision that ruled that Title VII protects gay and transgender workers from discrimination.
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