G. Schirmer and its president, Robert Thompson, have been sued in the state of New York on allegations of workplace improprieties and sexual misconduct.
The company, a widely-known classical publisher, is a division of Music Sales Corporation, which is one of the largest music distributors in the world.
According to the complaint filed in the lawsuit, Heather Kaiser feels that she received a wrongful termination after she was targeted for complaining to Music Sales leadership about Thompson’s workplace relationship with an intern. Music Sales has a policy that prevents employees who are romantically involved to be in a close reporting relationship.
Kaiser says Thompson and the intern would regularly vent their relationship woes in front of employees, which created a hostile working environment. Employees who saw this behavior were then put into the position of trying to explain the behavior to clients who were at the office when the events occurred.
Sounds like a lot of drama. But is that drama illegal?
Well, this part may be.
Kaiser’s lawyer argues that after his client announced her pregnancy, Thompson used the event to escalate his retaliation against her for complaining to management. He removed duties from Kaiser’s workload and ultimately fired her, according to the complaint.
Thompson alleges that she was performing her job duties while experiencing contractions.
After returning from maternity leave, Kaiser was allegedly required to work after-hours events without overtime pay and told that working mothers should expect hours like that going forward. That management attitude, if true, reflects some backlash against working mothers, who are often blamed for trimming their hour while expanding the workplace responsibilities of co-workers.
Kaiser says she hopes to shed light on the lack of support that working mothers receive in the music industry, while also highlighting the toxic double standards and rampant sexism that can occur. She is seeking compensation for unpaid wages and punitive damages to her professional reputation caused by Thompson and his employer.