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Former Google Exec Files Suit Over Alleged Pregnancy Discrimination

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Another week and news of another lawsuit involving Google makes the papers. I'm thinking that the busiest department at the Googleplex these days is the legal department.

The NY Newsday article Suit accuses Google of pregnancy bias reports on a new lawsuit filed by Christina Elwell, a former director of national sales for Google who saw her star dropped after she became pregnant, the suit alleges:

She was even singled out at a meeting of Google's sales force as contributing to the company's ability to file for an initial public offering.

However, things changed for Ms. Elwell after she notified Google that she was pregnant with quadruplets and experiencing medical complications.

Over the next year, according to her suit, Elwell, 35, of Manhattan, would see her position deleted from a Google organizational chart, a promised lesser role rescinded and filled by a man she had hired, and her career derailed by a series of demotions and a firing. The suit says she was branded a human resources "nightmare" by her boss, Timothy Armstrong, Google's vice president of national sales, who is also named as a defendant in the suit.

More background in the article. I've also tracked down a full text copy of the complaint Christina Elwell filed with the U.S. District Court in New York City, it's posted here (PDF).

Postscript: Amy Lambert, a Google attorney, shared the following comment with SEW this afternoon:

Google has from the beginning supported the career advancement of all employees, including women, in many ways and has exceptional support benefits for employees who need to balance work with family, including generous benefits for expectant and new mothers. The lawsuit against Google and Tim Armstrong is without merit and we will defend vigorously against it.

Postscript 2: As John notes, Google previous has had a case brought against it involving a different type of discrimination allegations, that of age discrimination. Some further details on that can be found here and in our forum thread Another Google Lawsuit: Age Discrimination.


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