Knix Wear CEO Faces Pregnancy Discrimination from Investors
Joanna Griffiths, Founder of Knix Wear, recently made headlines for her take on pregnancy discrimination. While she raised $53 million in capital for her intimatewear company, she did so without working with investors that looked at her pregnancy as a financial risk.
There were 2,698 pregnancy discrimination allegations reported in the U.S. to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last year alone. What happened to the Toronto CEO resonated with a lot of women here. It also raised questions about pregnancy discrimination and how women should respond when presented with this issue.
The Entrepreneur Had One Rule
She had one rule to abide by as she sought funding, especially in the third trimester of her pregnancy with twins. Griffiths was not taking money from anyone who questioned her ability to lead a startup as a pregnant woman and mother. But why did she do it? In an interview with CBS MoneyWatch, she explained that it was best to get financially backed by those who shared her values about womanhood and empowerment. It was also an integral factor for her inclusive business branded for women of all ages and body types.
The Unspoken Rule
Female founders seldom talk about the “unspoken rule” of not raising money while pregnant. Yet, she took that risk. In an interview with CTVNews.ca, Griffiths said, “Those unspoken rules … that you can’t fundraise, switch jobs while pregnant, get a promotion while pregnant, don’t have to apply, and shouldn’t apply.”
There is a difference between asking questions to engage in dialogue versus discussing who might take her place as interim CEO during maternity leave. In the following interview with CBS News, Griffiths had received negative comments from investors directed toward her bank.
“I had one group say, ‘Oh, like who wants to be the last money in before she goes off and gives birth to her twins?'” she recounted with a CBS reporter. “It’s 2021, and if someone feels comfortable saying those sorts of things out loud with where the world is today, they are just not in line with the values of Knix.”
Unfortunately, women face different questions that wouldn’t usually get asked of their male counterparts, according to the Harvard Business Review. Griffiths hopes to make a difference because of the recent economic gender shifts (due to the pandemic) and the #MeToo movement’s lasting impact.
Filing A Pregnancy Discrimination Claim as an Employee
The tables would turn if Griffiths had been an employee, and not the CEO of a successful company, which is expected to exceed $100 million in revenue. Employees who experience bias or adverse treatment from their employers at work would have to hire an employment attorney in Los Angeles. Filing a pregnancy discrimination claim can be overwhelming and nerve-wracking when you feel that your job might be at risk. At Mann & Elias, we will make sure that you and your family are protected every step of the way.