NAACP Seeks Class Action Status for Race Discrimination Suit Against Eli Lilly

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is seeking class action status for a 2006 federal lawsuit that accuses drug manufacturer Eli Lilly of discrimination against African-American employees. The plaintiffs include nine current and former employees who allege that the drug manufacturer engaged in pay and promotion discrimination on the basis of race. An amended complaint filed last week with the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana includes allegations of discrimination from 106 additional current and former employees, reported Business Week. If the court grants class action status, approximately 2,000 more employees could join the suit.

Former employee Cassandra Welch filed the original complaint after experiencing harassment and learning she made as much as $20,000 less than her white counterparts, according to WISH TV. Welch stated in a press release: “I had to endure years of racist comments and threats-including having a dark-colored doll with a noose around its neck left on my desk-just to remain employed.”

Attorneys for Eli Lilly have argued for the dismissal of the suit. A statement issued by the company states: “We have investigated the allegations in the previously filed complaints and believe this lawsuit is without merit,” reported the Indiana Business Journal. The plaintiffs seek to have Lilly reinstate its employees to the jobs and wages they would have received if they had not allegedly experienced discrimination.


Business Week 6/9/09; WISH TV 6/9/09; PR Newswire 6/9/09; Indianapolis Business Journal 6/9/09

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