Posted January 12th, 2012.
Complaint Details Quest Diagnostics’ Employment Practices That Have
Illegal Disparate Impact on Female Sales Representatives
(January 12, 2012, Newark, NJ) – Attorneys at Sanford Wittels & Heisler today filed a $100 million gender discrimination employment class action complaint against Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), Inc. and AmeriPath, Inc., (collectively known as “Quest”) in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
The complaint details the systemic discriminatory treatment of female sales representatives company-wide by the self-proclaimed “world leader in diagnostic testing, information and services.”
“Although Quest boasts about its dedication to delivering quality care down to the molecular level, the company falls woefully short of devoting similar attention to extending equal employment opportunities to its female sales reps,” said David Sanford, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney. “Quest has known or should have known that its business practices have an illegal disparate impact on women, employees with family responsibilities and pregnant employees. However, it has consistently failed to adopt measures to rectify this pervasive discrimination that its discriminatory policies, practices and procedures creates.”
Indiana resident Erin Beery and Florida resident Heather Traeger, both of them current Quest employees in the AmeriPath division, filed the suit on behalf of themselves and a class of similarly-situated sales reps employed from February 17, 2010 to the present. Beery is an Executive Territory Manager in Quest’s Anatomical Pathology Sales Division in Indianapolis; Traeger is Senior Executive Territory Manager in the Anatomical Pathology Sales Division in Bradenton.
The complaint details a wide range of discriminatory practices in the selection, promotion and advancement of sales reps at Quest Diagnostics and AmeriPath, including discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and caretaking responsibilities in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal statutes.
In addition, both of the named plaintiff’s in the case have individual claims of disparate pay, differential treatment, gender hostility, the creation of a hostile work environment and retaliation in the workplace affecting them in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal statutes.
According to Beery and Traeger, high ranking company officials within Quest’s predominately-male management team foster an environment detrimental to the success and advancement of female employees. They describe “old boys’ club” attitudes that pervade the enterprise, including forcing women to work under less favorable circumstances than their male counterparts and denying them the educational and job advancement opportunities afforded men in similar positions.
“There is no question that male employees and, in some cases, women without primary childcare responsibilities, have advanced and continue to advance more rapidly to better and higher-paying jobs at Quest,” said Sharon Y. Eubanks, a member of the plaintiffs’ legal team. “The managers who are maintaining and promoting the current male-dominated management structure have a disproportionate impact on the promotion and compensation decisions that affect female sales reps.”
The complaint asserts that Quest’s policies do not provide sufficient oversight or safety measures to protect women from intentional and overt discrimination of even facially-neutral policies, so that female employees discriminated against have no recourse within the company. It cites an absence of internal incentives or disciplinary measures to ensure company executives and managers comply with company discrimination policies and equal employment laws.
Today’s filing also asserts that a significant number of the women who work for Quest have been and are affected by the same discriminatory employment policies, practices and procedures to which Beery and Traeger were subjected, justifying the certification of the class.
Beery and Trager seek declaratory and injunctive relief, backpay; front pay; compensatory, nominal and punitive damages; and attorneys fees and legal expenses for themselves and the class.
New Jersey based Quest is one of the largest companies in the U.S. It is currently ranked at 320 on the Fortune 500, reporting revenue of $7.4 billion and employing 42,000 workers in 2011.
About Sanford Wittels & Heisler, LLP
Sanford Wittels& Heisler is a law firm with offices in Washington, DC, New York, and San Francisco that specializes in qui tam, employment discrimination, wage and hour, consumer and complex corporate class action litigation and has represented thousands of individuals in major class action cases in the United States. The firm also represents individual clients in employment, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, whistleblower, public accommodations, commercial, medical malpractice, and personal injury matters. In May 2010, the firm secured the largest jury award in the U.S. in a gender discrimination class action in an employment case when a jury returned a verdict of $253 million in compensatory and punitive damages against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. For more information, contact Sanford Wittels& Heisler at 646-791-4848.