Tuesday, 31 May 2011

More Plaintiffs Join Bayer Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Bayer’s gender discrimination lawsuit just got bigger with more plaintiffs joining in. The lawsuit claims that the company discriminated heavily against women in pay and promotions, and that Bayer created a hostile work environment. The lawsuit now includes female sales reps at Bayer’s consumer unit, running into hundreds of workers in all.

The lawsuit is also now quite similar to the Novartis gender discrimination lawsuit which settled for $250 million last year. That lawsuit had claimed that Novartis encouraged discrimination against women in the workplace, and fostered a hostile workplace. As part of the settlement, Novartis agreed to pay millions in back pay and promotions, and also agreed to invest in programs helping female advancement in the workplace.

According to attorneys, Bayer was faced with evidence of discrimination, but chose to do nothing. California employment lawyers see similarities with the accusations against Novartis here - that company had also been accused of doing nothing in the face of evidence of discrimination.

The Bayer lawsuit also claims sexual harassment against female employees. According to one employee who testified, Vera Santangelo, she was subjected to lewd and sexually explicit comments by a male employer as she rode the elevator with him. Bayer’s response - avoid taking the elevator. To Los Angeles employment lawyers, this also brings back memories of the claims against Novartis. The company had threatened to fire a female employee after she alleged she had been raped by one of her customers.

Bayer seems to have learned nothing from that massive verdict against Novartis. Just a few months after the verdict against Novartis, executives at Bayer distributed an article that seemed to suggest that men were more suited for management positions than women. Women according to the article, were more prone to office politics, mood swings and indecision, and therefore, did not make good managers.

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