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. as 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.
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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 the authority to make such sensitive decisions alone. Finally, I feel that Mothers Work Inc. s lack of a Human Resources department and Corporate Communication division directly contributed to such adverse events occurring. A profitable and growing corporation, such as this, should have had the foresight to see that communication would become a difficult task as the company expanded geographically and internally. I feel that this blatant disregard for their employees’ welfare was indication that Mothers Work Inc. had not taken appropriate steps to ensure their workers’ security. Had they focused more on the welfare of their people rather than their balance sheet, it is my belief that Mothers Work Inc. ould not have been in this situation to begin with. For all of these reasons, I feel confident in saying that Mothers Work Inc. was rightfully accused. If they want to continue being as profitable with less controversy, I feel there must be immediate action within the company to strengthen the policies and provide a firm moral backbone for all employees, starting at the top. In a world where more women of child-bearing age are in the labor force, companies should take their rights more seriously and consequences of violating them should be severe.
Not only does should this case imply the serious financial consequences of such accusations, but it should also indicate to companies that laws are put into place for a reason. If employers do not observe these laws with full awareness, those protected under them are exposed to become victims of discrimination. If we wish to teach our children the differences between right and wrong, then the rights of those that bring those children into the world should be treated with the utmost care as well.