Bayer failed to stop 8 women from seeking class-action status for their sex-discrimination claims against the company. As Bloomberg reports, U.S. District Judge Dennis Cavanaugh denied Bayer's request to bar the lawsuit from consideration as a class action and said that the women had done enough to demonstrate that the company may have violated sex-discrimination rules.
The women's suit "as a whole sufficiently shows that female employees felt adverse effects at work, especially in terms of opportunities for promotion and the privilege of maternity leave, despite the existence of facially neutral policies," Cavanaugh wrote in his ruling (as quoted by Bloomberg).
So, the lawsuit will go forward. The women sued U.S. units of the German company, saying that "sexual harassment pervades every corner of the company" and that Bayer showed "disregard and indifference" when women complained about discrimination. They also say women experienced disparities in pay compared with men in the same jobs.
The Bayer claims follow a similar lawsuit from women at Novartis ($NVS). In 2010, female workers won their class action against the company, which claimed pay discrepancies and discrimination against pregnant women. A jury awarded $250 million to the women, but the Swiss drugmaker later settled for $152 million.
- read the Bloomberg piece
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