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Employment Discrimination Update: Bayer Fails to Bar Class Action by Lawsuit Alleging Sex Bias

above-the-bar-logo.jpgA New Jersey District Court Judge this week denied Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals’ (“Bayer”) request to stop eight women from being considered for a class action. The complaint alleges violations under the Equal Pay Act and charges of discrimination in pay and promotions.

The women’s class action lawsuit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, back pay, front pay, lost benefits, compensatory, nominal and punitive damages in the amount of $100 million or more for all female employees similarly situated. The group of women holds positions which include that of Associate Director, Deputy Director, and Director in the Women’s Healthcare and Oncology Division. If you feel you have been discriminated against regarding any aspect of employment because of your sex, call our attorneys to determine the strength of your discrimination claims.

The women’s complaint was filed in March, 2011 and originally brought by 6 women on behalf of themselves and a class of female employees under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and New Jersey law. The complaint charged Bayer with a pattern and practice of discrimination in pay, promotions, and the treatment of pregnant women and mothers. The complaint set forth that Bayer has published and handed out articles that implied that men were better suited to be managers than women and described women as prone to “mood swings,” “indecision,” and “backstabbing.” It also stated that “women with power are loose cannons who often feel threatened by colleagues.” The complaint also alleged that senior managers made negative remarks about childcare responsibilities and passed over for promotions women who used maternity leave.

Before bringing this lawsuit, the women filed internal complaints which went unaddressed. After filing their complaint, Bayer’s managers told them that they should “know better” and that the “company won’t do anything about their complaints.” Bayer’s human resources department told the women that their complaints of gender discrimination should be handled by themselves and not the company.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in pay based on sex and the Equal Pay Act provides that men and women in the same workplace should be paid the same for doing the same work. Although the jobs do not need to be identical, they must be substantially equal. Both Acts cover every aspect of pay including salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, as well as benefits and compensation. If you are earning less and doing the same work as a male employee in your company, your boss may not lower his wages to equalize your pay.

It is a shame that a multinational pharmaceutical giant such as Bayer refused to provide equal treatment to its female employees. Even in this day and age, sex discrimination blatantly exists. If you are earning less than your male counterpart or being passed up for promotions because of your sex or because you took your federally protected right to maternity leave, call our Gender Discrimination Attorneys at Villanueva & Sanchala at (800) 893-9645 to help you recover your workplace rights.


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