Of course by now we've all heard about AOL CEO Tim Armstrong's despicable move to blame two families and their "distressed babies" for the reason that all AOL employees were getting their retirement benefits slashed (Super-professional, mister!). But now it's coming out that this isn't his first tirade against women with pregnancy complications. (As if these women can help it!).
According to a lawsuit, which was recently published by Valleywag, when Armstrong was Google's vice president of national sales, he was accused of discriminating against a woman who was pregnant with quadruplets. Christina Elwell, a former sales executive says Armstrong promoted her to Google's national sales director of North America in late 2003, and even sang her praises as to her huge contribution to the company when Google went public in 2004. But in April 2004, when Elwell told Armstrong she was having medical complications with her pregnancy that would prevent her from traveling by plane for a few weeks (but still could travel by train or car to important meetings), she says she was demoted—just weeks after she lost two of her unborn babies. What sort of evil person would lump on extra stress at a time like that?!
Oh, but it just keeps getting worse. He told her about the demotion by showing her an organizational chart with her position deleted. He called her—to her face!—an "HR nightmare," said he no longer wanted her in his New York office, and eventually fired her over the phone (which is pretty much the cowardly equivalent of your junior high boyfriend breaking up with you in a folded-up note passed to your friend in home room). And his stellar reason for ruining her life? Because he had "a gut feeling" that it was the right thing to do.
Google found that Elwell had been improperly fired and rehired her at a low-level position she says was comparable to an internship (not cool, Google!). As she filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, she lost her third baby, and ended up delivering only one of her quadruplets. Once she was back to work fulltime and told she had no chances of getting her higher-level job back on the sales team, she quit and left the company for good.
Though neither side is legally allowed to speak of the settlement, one was reached through arbitration, supposedly leaving Elwell in a very good place financially. Yes, money is nice and it helps put a roof over your head, but it doesn't seem that important when you've lost three babies, your job that you were really freakin' good at, and someone has tried their best to make you feel worthless. No pregnant woman should be put through this kind of nightmare!
Image of Tim Armstrong via Twitter.