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$250 Million Jury Verdict in Gender Discrimination Class Action

Published by on June 3, 2010

A federal jury in New York awarded $250 million in punitive damages to a class of female employees who alleged they were harassed and discriminated against with respect to raises and promotions by their employer, pharmaceutical company Novartis.  The plaintiffs were also awarded $3.3 million in compensatory damages by a unanimous jury.  More after the […]

A federal jury in New York awarded $250 million in punitive damages to a class of female employees who alleged they were harassed and discriminated against with respect to raises and promotions by their employer, pharmaceutical company Novartis.  The plaintiffs were also awarded $3.3 million in compensatory damages by a unanimous jury.  More after the break.

In determining the amount of the award, the judge instructed the jury to consider the “offensiveness of Novartis’ behavior, the nature and extent of the harm done, the length of time the class endured the behavior, the extent to which Novartis knew about the discrimination and how they reacted once they were on notice,” as well as the company’s financial condition.  Each of the 5,600 members of the class could receive up to $300,000 in damages, potentially increasing the company’s liability by hundreds of millions of dollars.  The plaintiffs also plan on seeking back pay damages in the amount of $37 million.  The suit is the largest discrimination matter to ever be tried in the country so far.  Novartis has stated that it plans on appealing the verdict, and stands behind its policies that set “the highest standards with regards to diversity and inclusion for the development of our employees.”

The class certification order can be found here.

 Articles on this case

 http://blogs.wsj.com/juggle/2010/05/21/novartis-ruling-offers-lesson-on-family-friendly-workplaces/

 http://www.inc.com/news/articles/2010/05/novartis-gender-bias-case-opens-door-for-more-lawsuits.html

 http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/may/21/novartis-hit-with-250m-punitive-damage-award/

 http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-novartis-20100520,0,7106473.story

 http://www.upi.com/Business_News/2010/05/18/Novartis-to-appeal-sex-discrimination-case/UPI-21041274212411/

 http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/industries/health-care/jury-finds-novartis-guilty-gender-discrimination/

 http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/05/16/bloomberg1376-L2KOVC07SXKX-4.DTL

 http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=10668532

 http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/05/16/bloomberg1376-L2KUJ90D9L35-4.DTL

 http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202458331182&Jury_Finds_Sex_Bias_by_Novartis_Supports_Punitive_Damages

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