July 9, 2024

World Economic Forum Sued For Race And Pregnancy Discrimination

world economic forum

The World Economic Forum (WEF) and its founder, Klaus Schwab, are facing a lawsuit from a Black employee in New York over allegations of racial and pregnancy discrimination.

Topaz Smith, a policy expert, claims that upon her return from maternity leave, she was informed her position was being eliminated and was replaced by a non-pregnant white woman, according to Bloomberg.

Allegations of Systemic Discrimination

Smith’s lawsuit accuses the WEF of systematically discriminating against Black employees, citing instances where Black staff were kept away from attending the annual Davos conference.

Instead of participating in person, Smith had to organize and attend sessions via video, as the Forum refused to cover her travel expenses. 

Additionally, the lawsuit claims Smith was relegated to a temporary, six-month role upon her return from maternity leave rather than transitioning to the client-facing role she had been preparing for before her leave.

WEF’s Response and Legal Proceedings

In response to the allegations, Yann Zopf, a spokesperson for the WEF, stated, “While it’s disappointing to see such false claims being made, now that these matters are in court, the frivolity and falsity of these claims will become evident.” 

Despite these denials, Smith’s lawsuit aims to hold the Forum accountable for what she describes as “obvious discrimination.” 

The case, Smith v. World Economic Forum LLC, 24-05150, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan), seeks justice for the discriminatory practices allegedly happening within the organization.

Feature Image Credit: Markus Schreiber/AP Photo

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.