The Wonderful Company, which produces Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice and Wonderful pistachios, is co-owned by a self-made woman. However, the billionaire entrepreneur, once a struggling mother of two herself, is accused of being notoriously unfriendly to her pregnant employees.
While the co-founder publicly espouses family-friendly policies and working to end the “wage gap” women experience in the workplace, former employees say that pregnancy put them on the firing line and cost them their jobs. Employees were obliged to sign a binding arbitration clause as a condition of their employment when they were hired. That’s largely kept these cases out of the public eye.
At least one former employee is trying to win her case in arbitration. She claims that the co-founder asked her if she was pregnant at various times, which is a violation of the law. When she did become pregnant, she suddenly found that her work was no longer satisfactory.
She was also bluntly told that the co-owner of the company was unhappy with her, although no further explanation was given. The woman was let go before she returned from leave after her child was born.
Another female employee says she experienced something similar. That employee took two months of unpaid leave under a California law that permits the time for baby bonding. She says she was told not to come back because there was allegedly not enough work to go around.
There are several other stories being told and allegations that the company co-founder displayed open hostility toward her pregnant employees. She reportedly seemed to consider it a betrayal that female executives had diverted some of their energies into building a family and not the company.
Pregnancy discrimination is illegal. If you sense that the atmosphere around you has shifted and become hostile since you announced your pregnancy, it may be time to talk to an attorney to learn more about your rights.