Novartis Pharmaceutical Gender Discrimination Class Action Lawsuit

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Amy Velez, et al., v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. is one of the largest gender discrimination lawsuits ever to go to trial. The class action lawsuit claimed Novartis Pharmaceuticals (NPC) practiced sex discrimination against female employees under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Wilson 2010). The plaintiffs are nineteen women presently or formerly employed by NPC in sales related positions. They claimed the NPC discriminated against them in various ways, including compensation, promotion and promotional opportunities, personnel evaluations and by adverse treatment of women who take maternity leave. They seek injunctive relief, back pay and front pay, and compensatory and punitive damages (US District Court Document). The class action lawsuit later grew to include 6,200 women employed by NPC. The time period of the discrimination was from 2002-2007 Amy Velez, who had twins in 2001 claimed she was repeatedly passed over for promotions by men who had inferior sales numbers. She also claims to have overheard a manager asking recruiters prospective employees were married or had children. (Wilson 2010). Another woman claims she was told by a manager that he prefers not to hire younger women saying “First comes Love, then comes marriage, then comes flex time and a baby carriage.” (Wilson 2010). In addition, the plaintiffs claim that men in the same positions earned more money than women in the save positions. The final approval of the settlement was November 19, 2010. The settlement, which totaled $175 million, included $152.5 million in back wages, benefits, and adjusted wages, service payments to named plaintiffs who helped litigate the case, and attorneys' fees and costs, plus $22.5 million in nonmonetary relief representing Novartis's commitments to revise its employment policies to eliminate sex discrimination (McGowan 2010). In response to the decision, according to NPC’s web page “As part of its commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive...
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