A former Coach employee is suing the brand’s parent company Tapestry for firing her just two days after she returned to work from her maternity leave.
Monica Jean Baptiste worked for the “Global Coach Brand planning team” according to a complaint filed March 7 and reviewed by Jezebel. The Fashion Law reports that Baptiste informed her bosses in January 2017 that she would be taking a leave of absence due to her pregnancy. In August of that year, Baptiste had a performance review in which she “met or exceeded all her goals and job requirements” and was given a full bonus. When she took her maternity leave beginning in September 2017, Baptiste says that she had no reason to believe her job was in jeopardy, keeping in touch with her boss to “ensure that all was well,” according to documents.
But when Baptiste returned to work in January 2018, she says she worked for two days before being told she was fired—a violation of the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) which requires employers to give employees 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. Baptiste’s complaint is not unusual for the fashion industry, which has had several high-profile cases in the past few years of discrimination against pregnant employees at brands like Nasty Gal, Nicole Miller, and mostly recently Prabal Gurung, where a former employee alleges the designer body-shamed her while pregnant.
In an email to Jezebel, a representative for Tapestry writes that the company has a long-standing policy of not commenting on pending litigation.