A class action suit alleging that Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals discriminated against women employees has been expanded.
Just days after the one year anniversary of winning a $250 million verdict for female sales representatives at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, the law firm of Sanford Wittels & Heisler (SWH) recently filed a nearly identical class action on behalf of female sales representatives at Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals.
According to SWH, The Amended Complaint adds two new Class Representatives — a sales representative and an employee at Consumer Care — to join the six Class Representatives who filed the original complaint in March of this year on behalf of themselves and a class of female managers in the United States under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and New Jersey law on March 21, 2011.
The Amended Complaint expands the class to include all women sales representatives at Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals and now all women at Bayer HealthCare Consumer Care, a division of Bayer HealthCare which was not named in the original complaint.
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals and Bayer HealthCare Consumer Care are subsidiaries of Bayer Corporation, the American arm of Bayer AG, a multinational entity based in Germany.
According to the amended complaint, there is an entirely new class of plaintiffs and an additional Bayer HealthCare Division now added to the case. In addition, the complaint details even more outrageous behaviours from senior Bayer individuals. According to an official release from the law firm, this includes a Senior Counsel for the Company harassing women at Bayer HealthCare Corporate Care by making comments such as “I really like how you look on all fours”, and telling another woman he wished he could watch an entire donut “slide down her throat”.
It is also being highlighted that how a female pharmaceutical sales representative is facing the issue of lack of advancement opportunities.
According to SWH, the female pharmaceutical sales representatives at Bayer newly added to the class have been paid and promoted less than their male counterparts.
Citing an example, SWH mentioned the case of Class Representative Natalie Celske, who has been described as a high-performing sales representative. She has been with Bayer for 13 years and has repeatedly won national awards for her performance. However, Ms. Celske has watched less-qualified male counterparts pass her by as they were promoted up the ladder.
Katherine Kimpel, lead counsel for the plaintiffs and the class and partner at SWH, said, “Bayer’s failure to recognise, promote, and otherwise treat Ms. Celske fairly is illegal. It is also unwise; even by Bayer’s own metrics, Ms. Celske is an exemplary performer. What happened to Ms. Celske is representative of a deeper company-wide problem of gender discrimination in the sales force.”
SWH also mentioned that the case has also grown to include evidence of sexual harassment ignored and tacitly condoned by Bayer. In the Novartis trial, the jury heard compelling testimony from women who had been harassed by doctors to whom they marketed drugs. Here, the harassers are actually on Bayer payroll, it added.