A former corporate employee of Coach is accusing the company of firing her without cause days after she returned from maternity leave.
Monica Jean Baptiste filed suit against recently renamed Coach parent company Tapestry Inc., telling a New York federal court that after working since 2016 as a managing member of the global brand managing team, which included managing the Coach brand and overseeing buying, she was fired in January, only two days after she retired from three months of approved maternity leave.
“Both prior to, during and up until she was terminated, defendants voiced no criticism of [Jean Baptiste], did not inform her that her position was in jeopardy or that she had any reason to be concerned about her position,” she wrote in her complaint filed last month.
Jean Baptiste also claims to have received in August a performance review, about a month before she went on maternity leave the day she went into labor in September, and was told she’d “met or exceeded” all of her job goals and was given a full bonus that included stock options set to vest after four years.
While on maternity leave, Jean Baptiste said she regularly contacted her boss, Moira Breen, vice president of global inventory management at Coach, “to ensure all was well and to keep in touch with [the company’s] needs and provide assistance as needed.”
During her leave, Jean Baptiste claims that her job was taken over by an employee that was transferred from Coach’s North American team. When she returned to her job on Jan. 8, Jean Baptiste says she worked for only two days before being terminated.
“At no time did Ms. Breen, or anyone else, inform plaintiff that she was to be terminated, nor that her work was less than satisfactory,” the complaint said.
Given the alleged lack of warning and the circumstance in which she was fired, Jean Baptiste is accusing Tapestry of wrongful termination that was in retaliation for her taking family leave, which is protected by New York state and federal labor law. The law also provides that a person is entitled to return to their position as long as they are able to perform the “essential functions” of the job, which Jean Baptiste says she was, or be offered an equivalent position, which she allegedly was not.
Jean Baptiste is seeking unspecified damages.
A Tapestry spokeswoman declined to comment.
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