Six women seek $100M in Bayer discrimination suit

Bayer is the latest drugmaker to face discrimination claims from female employees. Six current and former workers have sued the company in federal court, alleging its U.S. unit denied them fair pay and promotions and treated pregnant employees particularly poorly. The suit asks for class-action status and seeks $100 million in back pay and damages.

"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 Katherine Kimpel, the women's lawyer.

A Bayer spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal that the six women had previously filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but dropped those claims to pursue the lawsuit. "Bayer denies the allegations of gender discrimination and will vigorously defend itself against these charges," a company spokeswoman said. "Bayer will not comment further on pending litigation, other than to note that it is committed strongly to a policy of non-discrimination and equal treatment for all employees."

Novartis recently lost a discrimination case filed by female employees. The company agreed to pay a total of $175 million to eligible women after a jury levied a $253 million verdict against it. The law firm that represented the Novartis women, Sanford Wittels & Heisler, also brought the Bayer suit.

- read the WSJ piece