Merck in Gender Bias Wrangle

February 20, 2014
The Pharm Exec staff

Pharmaceutical Executive

Four class representatives have been added to a class-action gender-discrimination employment suit originally filed last May against Merck & Co. in New Jersey.

Four class representatives have been added to a class-action gender-discrimination employment suit originally filed last May against Merck & Co. in New Jersey.

According to Human Resources Executive Online (HREOnline), the suit alleges that all class representatives of the suit were highly regarded members of Merck’s salesforce until they became pregnant. Then the drug maker allegedly subjected the plaintiffs to hostility, discrimination, workplace reassignments that reduced their compensation and caused anxiety.

The additional claims raise the potential value of the case against Merck to $250 million. The law firm that added the four plaintiffs - Sanford Heisler - recently won a case against Novartis that cost the firm $253 million in damages.

Kate Mueting, of the plaintiffs’ legal team, told HREOnline that the suit is “further evidence of the pervasive nature of gender-based hostility throughout Merck’s U.S. salesforce.”

Merck responded with the statement: “We are confident that this case lacks merit, and the company will vigorously defend itself. Merck is fully committed to providing equal employment opportunities for all employees and has a strong anti-discrimination policy…”

http://www.hreonline.com/HRE/view/story.jhtml?id=534356719

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