Avon will have to face off in court against two former employees who say the company, which bills itself as being “the company for women,” discriminated against them after they became pregnant, it emerged this week.
A Manhattan federal judge has ruled that Avon, which makes products for women sold (mostly) by women, cannot force allegations by Caroline Ruiz, its former global head of procurement, into arbitration.
Ruiz sued the company last year, claiming she was fired a month after Avon hired her because she disclosed a high-risk pregnancy that required her to work from home temporarily.
“Your health isn’t my concern, but your performance is,” her supervisor at the time told her, according to the lawsuit.
Judge Vernon Broderick also ruled in favor of Olivera Krstanoska, a former Avon employee who says she was discriminated against both after she became pregnant and when she started pumping breast milk at work.
“Krstanoska plausibly alleges a hostile working environment,” in which she was “repeatedly ‘harassed,’ ‘belittled’ and ‘demeaned’ because she refused to work with hazardous chemicals known to pose significant health risks to pregnant women,” Broderick ruled.
The complaint, which is seeking class action status, alleges that Avon maintained just one pumping room in its research and development offices in Suffern, New York, despite employing more than 300 people there.
The room would get so busy that one employee developed mastitis and underwent emergency surgery, the lawsuit said. The women’s lawyer, Jeanne Christensen of Wigdor, said she was “pleased” with the ruling.
Avon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As first reported by the New York Post
About Avon Products, Inc.
For 130 years Avon has stood for women: providing innovative, quality beauty products which are primarily sold to women, through women. Millions of independent Representatives across the world sell iconic Avon brands such as Avon Color and ANEW through their social networks, building their own beauty businesses on a full- or part-time basis.
Avon supports women’s empowerment, entrepreneurship and well-being and has donated over $1 billion to women’s causes through Avon and the Avon Foundation. Learn more about Avon and its products at www.avonworldwide.com
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