Reprinted from The Hollywood Reporter by Ashley Cullins on March 22, 2019.
Disney has again defeated a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee, after a California appeals court on Thursday affirmed a May 2017 summary judgment ruling in the studio’s favor.
Elin Abad in December 2015 sued Disney and ABC, claiming she faced discrimination, harassment and retaliation because of her pregnancy.
She was hired into the creative content group in 2012, and there’s no dispute that she did her original job well. Things began to break down in November 2014, when Abad felt she deserved a promotion. The next month, she announced she was pregnant and planned to take maternity leave in the spring. Then Abad says her relationship with her supervisor, Marissa Messier, became distant and started making negative comments about working parents. A creative content director position opened up while Abad was on maternity leave. She applied, but Messier didn’t feel she was ready. Abad ultimately resigned a few days before her leave was scheduled to end, feeling like she was passed over for the director job and roles in other departments because of her pregnancy. Disney, meanwhile, said she simply wasn’t qualified.
Judge Ernest Hiroshige granted Disney’s motion for summary judgement, finding Arad failed to sufficiently plead her case and, even if she had, Disney offered a legitimate reason for not promoting her: her lack of qualification. He also noted that the person who ultimately got the job was a woman. …