Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump has been caught in a scandal that his campaign chief once sacked a woman with multiple sclerosis.
The American press are giving prominent coverage to the news that Stephen Bannon, Donald Trump’s new campaign CEO, was accused in a 2005 lawsuit of firing an employee, who lives with multiple sclerosis, while she was on maternity leave after the birth of her child.
Although there is no evidence that Trump was in any way involved, the media is having a field day.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of former employee Julia Panely-Pacetti, who reported to Bannon, against American Vantage Companies, and argued that the firing violated Family and Medical Leave Act protections.
The claim got settled the following year, according to the New York Post, which reported on the lawsuit.
According to the suit: ‘Ms. Julia Panely-Pacetti, a new mother who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS), was terminated by Defendants from her position as head of public relations and corporate marketing because of her sex and her disability.’
The firing occurred ‘while she was on a protected Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) maternity leave, even though she had been forced to continue performing her job responsibilities from home throughout her maternity leave.’
A Bannon spokeswoman told British newspaper the Daily Mail that Panely-Pacetti lost her job as part of a broader layoff. She said: “Ms. Panely-Pacetti was not fired but laid off with all the personnel in her entire division during a corporate restructuring where the parent company exited its international sales and marketing business, and shut down its communications department.”
Following Panely-Pacetti’s announcement that she became pregnant, she alleged that Bannon ‘became less available to her on professional matters’ and ‘spoke disparagingly of her pregnancy,’ according to additional details reported by the New York Daily News.
Bannon took over Trump’s campaign with the resignation last month of campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who left amid a flurry of reports about his dealings in Ukraine. Manafort succeeded campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who guided Trump’s efforts during the primaries.
Bannon has taken leave from the conservative website Breitbart.com to help steer Trump’s campaign.