Contact Us

Former Cushman & Wakefield Recruiter Files Suit Alleging Discrimination After Telling Employers She Was Pregnant

The legal hits keep on coming for brokerage giant Cushman & Wakefield

A former recruiter has filed a lawsuit alleging that she was discriminated against after telling her employer she was pregnant, The Real Deal reports. The suit comes less than two weeks after an executive filed her own lawsuit alleging that she had faced a hostile work environment and been denied promotions based on her race and gender.


Paula Thorby had a permanent position as a recruiter for Cushman from 2014 to 2016, at which time she left for a different job. Upon her return three months later, she alleges that she was given a temporary position but was repeatedly assured of being restored to permanent status once an opening was available, TRD reports.

In October of last year, Thorby informed her supervisors that she was pregnant, at which point she was asked to come into the office three to four times a week — a requirement not extended to all other recruiters, who otherwise work remotely, the lawsuit alleges. 

When a permanent position did become available, Thorby claims that she went through three rounds of interviews and was told there were no other candidates being considered, even after the October exchange. Then on Jan. 2, Thorby informed her bosses that she was diagnosed with a pregnancy condition that forced her onto disability. A day later, she claims that she was informed that Cushman had found an external candidate to take the position and that her temporary status was to be extended indefinitely, TRD reports.

A complaint Thorby filed with the company alleging mistreatment was resolved with Cushman finding no mistreatment on Jan. 11, and she was terminated the next day, she alleges. The next month, she brought her case to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, which recommended she file suit in August, according to TRD.

The suit is one of several discrimination complaints filed against Cushman & Wakefield since 2015. The issue of unequal treatment of women in commercial real estate extends far beyond one company, and has been further scrutinized since the #MeToo movement became a part of the cultural lexicon. 

Cushman & Wakefield went public in August on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker CWK. The company sold 45 million shares for $17 apiece in hopes of raising $765M, valuing the global services firm at roughly $3.1B, not including debt. As of Friday's close, CWK's stock was down 0.54% to $16.55.