According to ABC News, Rachel Walsh, 32, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Barclays Capital claiming that they fired her because she had to take a long leave of absence and subsequently terminated her child’s health coverage. Walsh’s child was born with cancer.
She is alleging gender discrimination and breach of contract. Because Walsh waived her right to a trial when she signed her employment agreement with the financial firm, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority will be arbitrating her case.
Walsh was hired by Barclays to fill the position of global finance assistant vice president. (Prior to that she worked at Merrill Lynch (MER) and Ernst and Young.) During her first year with the financial firm, she was given a bonus, a raise, and a good end-of-year review. She also became pregnant but continued to work until three week prior to her delivery date when her doctor ordered her to bed due to pregnancy complications.
Walsh continued to receive health insurance coverage at this time from disability and during her maternity leave after her son was born in May 2011. Soon after, doctors diagnosed him as having bilateral retinoblastoma-cancer in his eyes’ retinas.
Walsh says that Barclays agreed that she could go on unpaid leave after her maternity leave ended and told her that there would be a place for her when she was ready to come back. She says that they even signed a contract about these terms, noting that she could have a flexible work schedule or telecommute. Yet when she was ready to go back in August 2012, she claims that her boss told her that her old job was no longer a good fit for her because of her son’s poor health.
Walsh also says that even after she notified Barclays she would be happy to fill any position they could give her she was told that there was no job available for her and that she would lose her benefits. Walsh went on to obtain COBRA health coverage for her son. The insurance cost her for $1800 a month.
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Mother of Baby With Cancer Takes On Barclays, ABC News, January 15, 2013
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