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Bayer Gets $100M Gender Class Action Headache

Mon, 03/21/2011 - 9:38am
Bio-Medicine.Org

NEWARK, N.J., March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals was handed a pounding $100 million headache today that even its highly-publicized aspirin is unlikely to relieve.  The law firm of Sanford Wittels & Heisler, LLP, filed a class action complaint in U.S. District Court for New Jersey, citing instances of illegal gender discrimination that echo the experiences of female employees at Novartis Pharmaceuticals who successfully won a jury award of more than $250 million last year.

The six Class Representatives Victoria Barghout, Jennifer Christiansen, Barbara Feringa, Jennifer Musumeci, Laura Reilly, and Karen Salomon filed the complaint on behalf of themselves and a class of female employees in the United States under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and New Jersey law. The document details a pattern and practice of discrimination in pay, promotions, and the treatment of pregnant women and mothers by the multinational corporation.

The individual plaintiffs and the class are represented by Katherine Kimpel of Sanford Wittels & Heisler, LLP, in Washington, D.C.  Ms. Kimpel recently served as Co-lead Counsel in Velez v. Novartis, securing a verdict of more than $253 million, the largest jury award in the U.S. in a gender discrimination case.  

"Bayer engages in systemic discrimination against its female employees – particularly those with family responsibilities – by paying them less than their counterparts, denying them promotions into better and higher paying positions, limiting their employment opportunities to lower and less desirable job classifications, and exposing them to different treatment and a hostile work environment," said Ms. Kimpel.  "To make matters worse, Bayer is often blatant about its disregard for its female employees."

According to the complaint, Bayer has published and disseminated articles that suggest men are better suited to be managers t

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