Novartis Sex Discrimination Case Begins Today in New York

Proceedings in a class-action lawsuit against Novartis Pharmaceuticals begin today in New York District Court. The suit alleges that Novartis violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and practiced sex discrimination against female employees, and pregnant women in particular. The complaint seeks more than $200 million in damages on behalf of more than 5,600 female sales employees who received an average of $105 less per month than men in comparable jobs from 2002 through 2007, reports the New York Times. According to the Daily Finance, incidents that provide the basis for the complaint include: – A mother of twins was repeatedly passed over for promotions, which were given to men with worse sales numbers. She also heard a manager asking a recruiter if potential sales representatives were married or had children. – A woman alleges her manager said he didn’t like to hire young women, because “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes flex time and a baby carriage.” – A woman who claims she was encouraged to have an abortion. “Novartis’ female employees have been for many years and continue to be subjected to systemic gender discrimination,” said David Sanford, one of the attorneys representing the women. “These women have paid the price for a corporate culture that condones treating women with gender hostility. I am confident the outcome of this trial will go a long way toward ending these unlawful corporate behaviors.” Kate Kimpel, another of the plaintiff’s attorneys, said if Novartis changes the way it treats its female employees, “…not only will women at Novartis benefit, but women throughout the United States will have achieved a victory on the way towards true equality in the workplace.”


New York Times 4/6/10; PRNewswire 4/7/10; The Daily Finance 4/7/10

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