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Friday
Sep022011

New York Mom of Twins Born Via Surrogate Denied Leave

John Guillemin / Bloomberg News(NEW YORK) -- A woman who used a surrogate to give birth to her twins is suing her employer in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts for refusing to grant her paid maternity leave.

Kara Krill, a clinical business manager on New York's Long Island, has claimed breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, and negligent misrepresentation against Cubist Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in Lexington, Massachussetts.  She seeks an injunction and compensatory and punitive damages for employment law violations.

Krill, who developed a reproductive disability called Asherman's syndrome after she gave birth to her first child in June 2007, and her husband hired a surrogate mother, or gestational carrier, to carry and deliver their second child.  After learning the gestational carrier was pregnant with twins in November 2010, Krill informed her employer that she expected to be on maternity leave when the twins were born in May 2010, according to the suit.

Krill and her husband also obtained a prebirth order that "established the legal and genetic parentage of Drill's twins without having to institute adoption proceedings," according to court documents.

When Krill had her first child in June 2007, she received 13 weeks of paid leave under Cubist's maternity leave policy.

But a Cubist human resources employee informed Krill she would be entitled to adopting parents' leave of five days.  The company provides adopting parents who work 20 hours or more per week five paid days of leave plus up to $4,000 in expenses for the adoption, according to court documents.  The company's paternity leave policy also provides male employees who work 20 hours or more per week five paid days of leave.

In an email to the human resources employee, Krill complained about what she said was discriminatory treatment.

"As we have previously informed you, the children being born are mine and were conceived with my husband.  They are only being carried by [a gestational carrier] as a result of my physical disability... Cubist's treatment of me differently than other employees having babies is not fair and is placing me in an untenable condition," she wrote, according to the lawsuit.

The suit also claims that Krill's direct supervisor subjected Krill to "verbal harassment and other adverse treatment," "frequently" patronizing Krill about her disability.  That employee "told her pointedly on several different occasions that she should not be entitled to any leave from Cubist for the birth of her children, whether paid or unpaid," according to court documents.

When Krill informed her boss she was required to be with her newborn children for a minimum of 12 weeks, her boss told Krill that she could "'put [her] twins in daycare,' so she could come back to work sooner.'"  Her boss also informed Krill she was "changing her sales quota expectations and taking away one of Krill's largest customer accounts and assigning it to another Cubist employee who was not disabled, and not going out on maternity leave."

Francis McLoughlin, director of corporate communications at Cubist, said the company could not comment on ongoing litigation but that it "tries to maintain positive work relations at the company."

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