A federal court jury decided that Novartis engaged in a pattern of discrimination against female employees who filed a class action lawsuit in 2004 over pay, promotion and pregnancy. And so the big drugmake must pay compensatory damages totaling $3.3 million along with punitive damages, which will be decided in a separate hearing. The women have been seeking least $200 million in damages.
The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of about 5,600 current and former female employees, alleged that while working for Novartis Pharmaceuticals, the drugmaker's US division, they were systematically denied promotions, paid less than their male colleagues and subjected to differential treatment (back story). They also charged their complaints to human resources division were regularly ignored (see the lawsuit).
The allegations also included some rather remarkable remarks made to the women: former senior sales consultant Christine Macarelli, claimed a manager encouraged her to get an abortion; former sales rep Jennifer Ryan Tselikis charged her manager told her he didn’t like hiring young women because “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes flex time and a baby carriage.” Former sales rep Ramona Pouncy alleged she was told she didn’t qualify for a raise because she “had not been in her territory during maternity leave.”
pic thx to 3neus on flickr