Source AP ©

Michael Bloomberg fosters discrimination against female employees at his financial information company

The women in the eye of Bloomberg LP's lawsuit filed a complaint that Michael Bloomberg, has fostered discrimination against female employees at his financial information company.

Tanys Lancaster, 38, Jill Patricot, 35, and Janet Loures, 41, filed a motion to join the case brought last week on their behalf by the federal government against the company, alleging discrimination against women who were pregnant or on maternity leave.

"This systemic, top-down discrimination against female employees is fostered, condoned and perpetuated by the highest levels of management within Bloomberg and by ownership of Bloomberg, to wit, Michael Bloomberg, Peter Grauer, Alexius 'Lex' Fenwick and Thomas Secunda," the complaint read.

Grauer is chairman, Fenwick is CEO and Secunda is another top executive who was a founding partner.

Bloomberg stepped down as CEO in 2001 to run for office but retains 68 percent ownership of the company. The women's complaint alleged he is more active in day-to-day operations than he claims.

"Since becoming mayor, Michael Bloomberg has communicated directly with Lex Fenwick regarding claims of disparate treatment of female executives and about the management of Bloomberg's Human Resources Department," the complaint said.

It also accused Fenwick of instructing another executive to terminate two female executives who were pregnant, saying, "I'm not having any pregnant bitches working for me."

A spokesman for the mayor declined to comment and a company spokeswoman did not immediately have a response.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought the original suit after the three senior employees submitted complaints regarding Bloomberg LP; the agency said it found the company engaged in a pattern of demoting women, diminishing their duties and excluding them from job opportunities after they disclosed they were pregnant.

The EEOC is the federal agency charged with interpreting and enforcing laws passed to prevent discrimination in the workplace. It said the activities at Bloomberg LP occurred with malice or reckless indifference to federal anti-discrimination laws.

In the women's complaint, they describe being demoted, receiving suddenly negative annual reviews, having their compensation slashed and being stripped of responsibilities after they had children.

Patricot, who started with the company in 1998, said she was "immediately subjected to a hostile work environment" in 2005 after returning from maternity leave, including being excluded from meetings that she had previously attended. A supervisor, Beth Mazzeo, told Patricot that her "career at the company had been 'paused' because she had a child," the complaint said.

Loures started with the company in 1989 and rose to a senior management position by 2001, but said she was gradually given fewer duties after her pregnancy and maternity leave that year. After she returned to work in early 2002, she was told that just because she went on leave, "she could not expect the business to stand still," the complaint said.

Lancaster, who worked for Bloomberg LP from 1994 to 2005, said she was demoted without explanation after returning from maternity leave.

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