Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The 9th nominee for the “worst employer of 2019” is … the fertile firing

MoMA PS1, a Queens, New York, art museum, has agreed to settle a pregnancy discrimination claim brought by Nikki Columbus, hired by the museum to direct its performance program. She alleged that the museum rescinded her job offer after it learned she had recently given birth.

According to The New York Times, Columbus, five months pregnant when she applied for the job, chose not to disclose her pregnancy until after she was hired. "I just went forward thinking that this is not their business, it’s not relevant to the job and to my abilities," she told the Times. She added that Peter Eleey, the museum's chief curator, told her during her interview that her predecessor had been "much less present" after she had a baby.

After being offered the job, Columbus asked Eleey for a soft transition-in period because she was recovering from just having a baby. Eleey's response, she alleged, "Why didn’t you tell me this two months ago?" A few days later, the museum rescinded its job offer, telling her that her conversations with Eleey "indicated that [she] would not be able to perform the job as it was structured." 

According to a museum spokesperson, "MoMA PS1 at all times has been compliant with the law and remains committed to supporting women and caregivers. We are satisfied with the agreement and are happy to put this matter behind us."

Nevertheless, if you fire a new mom because she just had a baby, you might be the worst employer of 2019.