* Judge says EEOC conduct during litigation was unfair
* Ruling means some potentially valid claims thrown out
* Bloomberg was accused of bias in pay, job opportunities
* EEOC says reviewing decision, considering options
By Jonathan Stempel and Jennifer Saba
NEW YORK, Sept 9 A federal judge threw out a
lawsuit accusing Bloomberg LP of discriminating against dozens
of pregnant employees, saying the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission's mishandling of the case effectively cost the
plaintiffs their day in court.
Monday's decision, by Chief Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S.
district court in Manhattan, is the latest win in the
six-year-old case for the financial news and information
company, whose majority owner is New York City Mayor Michael
In August 2011, Preska said the EEOC, which enforces federal
laws against workplace discrimination, could not pursue a class
action. She said there was a lack of evidence that
discrimination was Bloomberg's standard operating practice, even
if there were "several isolated instances" of individual bias.
Preska on Monday said the EEOC caused unfair prejudice to
Bloomberg by failing to properly investigate the bias claims of
29 individual plaintiffs it represented, and by spurning the
company's attempts to settle.
She said this "blatantly" contravened the emphasis under
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal workplace
bias law, on settling disputes rather than litigating,
justifying the lawsuit's dismissal.
"The court does not impose this severe sanction lightly and
recognizes that certain ... claims may be meritorious but now
will never see the inside of a courtroom," Preska wrote.
An EEOC spokeswoman said: "We are considering our options
and reviewing the court's opinion."
Daniel Doctoroff, Bloomberg's chief executive and president,
said in an emailed statement: "We are gratified by the court's
ruling today which confirms that this case should not have been
brought in the first place."
Michael Bloomberg is not a defendant in the case and has not
had an active role at the company since becoming mayor nearly 12
years ago. Bloomberg LP employs more than 15,000 people.
The EEOC originally sued in September 2007, accusing
Bloomberg of "pervasive bias" against several dozen women who
were pregnant or had returned from maternity leave.
This bias allegedly led to reduced pay and responsibilities,
demotions, exclusion from management meetings and the subjecting
of women to stereotypes about female caregivers, the EEOC said.
Preska on Monday said letting the case continue "would
severely undermine if not completely eviscerate" Title VII's
enforcement procedures, expand EEOC power far beyond what
Congress intended, and "greatly increase" litigation costs.
She said Congress "surely did not intend that employers,
even ones whose workplaces might be rife with sex
discrimination, face the moving target of allegedly aggrieved
persons that Bloomberg faced."
In a separate, 181-page decision, Preska dismissed pregnancy
bias claims brought by five individual plaintiffs, while
allowing part of a case by a sixth plaintiff to go forward.
Bloomberg competes with Thomson Reuters Corp.
The case is EEOC v. Bloomberg LP, U.S. District Court,
Southern District of New York, No. 07-08383.