A federal jury ruled against Merck in a retaliation lawsuit filed by a former sales rep. The Maryland panel awarded $555,000 in back pay and future earnings to Jennifer Scott, who claimed that she was wrongfully terminated after reporting violations of company policy.
According to the lawsuit, Scott raised questions about her supervisor's behavior to the company's ethics office, but even though officials determined he had violated company policy, Merck allowed him to remain responsible for reviewing Scott's performance. That responsibility continued after he was transferred to another job. Based on his negative reviews, Scott was fired.
Merck's ethics policy states that employees who report potential violations won't be retaliated against. "I think there were several claims that her former boss made that simply were not credible," Scott's lawyer told the Maryland Daily Record, "and we were able to show that he was retaliating against her in various ways."
Merck plans to appeal the verdict. "We disagree with the jury's verdict and will vigorously defend against plaintiff's claims on appeal," Ronald Rogers, a Merck spokesman, told the Daily Record. "We believe the verdict was contrary to the evidence presented at trial."