Sanford Heisler Files $100M+ Class Action Complaint Against Daiichi Sankyo

Posted February 11th, 2013.

Gender Discrimination Persists Against Female Sales Professionals
at Japanese-based Pharmaceutical Drug Giant, Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.

For more information, contact Jamie Moss, newsPRos, 201-788-0142,; Jamie Baum, 847-502-3825,

(February 11, 2013, San Francisco, CA) – Today, six current and former female pharmaceutical sales professionals filed a $100 million class and collective action gender discrimination lawsuit against Daiichi Sankyo in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Represented by Sanford Heisler, LLP, a civil rights law firm that has successfully litigated class action cases in the industry, these women seek to end pervasive gender discrimination in their workplace on behalf of themselves and a class of several hundred female Daiichi Sankyo sales professionals who have worked for the company in the United States.

Daiichi Sankyo is the U.S. branch of Daiichi Sankyo Company, Ltd., a Japan-based pharmaceutical giant that employs approximately 3,000 people in the United States. In 2010, Daiichi Sankyo reported sales of more than $2.6 billion in North America.

The Complaint alleges that Daiichi Sankyo pays female sales employees less than male employees for doing the same work; promotes or advances female sales employees at a slower rate than male sales employees; treats pregnant employees and working mothers of young children adversely compared to non-pregnant employees, male employees, or non-caregivers; and subjects women to other discriminatory terms and conditions of employment.

“Female pharmaceutical sales employees, including the Plaintiffs, have been cautioned against committing ‘career suicide’ if they choose to have children while working for Daiichi Sankyo,” said Janette Wipper, a San Francisco-based Partner at Sanford Heisler and lead attorney on the matter. “Daiichi Sankyo’s female sales reps have also been called ‘baby-makers’ while pregnant, required to attend meetings in smoke-filled rooms during their pregnancies, and received suspect reductions in compensation after returning from maternity leaves. Women who have dared to complain about the unequal treatment have been summarily ‘managed out’ of the company.”

According to the Complaint, a discrete group of predominantly male Daiichi executives and senior sales managers keep a tight rein on employment decisions, including decisions regarding sales employees’ compensation, advancement, and other terms and conditions of employment. Through this male dominated leadership structure, the Company has approved and implemented policies, practices and decisions that have systemically discriminated against female employees.

“Daiichi Sankyo’s systemic discriminatory actions span the gamut of prohibited employment practices,” said Felicia Medina, Senior Litigation Counsel at Sanford Heisler’s San Francisco office. “The Company’s behavior, as detailed in the Complaint, reads like a primer on how not to treat female employees, particularly those who are pregnant or have caregiving responsibilities for infants. Plaintiffs’ experiences illustrate the lengths Daiichi Sankyo goes to ensure that women remain in their ‘place,’ especially women who avail themselves of the Company’s so-called ‘flexible work schedule’ when they are expecting a child or caring for their newborns.”

The Plaintiffs cite Daiichi Sankyo’s violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the federal Equal Pay Act of 1963, as well as the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the California Equal Pay Act and the California Unfair Business Practices Act in today’s Complaint.

“As a consequence of this Company’s continuous discriminatory conduct, the Plaintiffs and the class are entitled to all legal and equitable remedies available for violations of these laws, especially much needed programmatic change within the Company to ensure that going forward women – including women with children – are provided equal employment opportunities at Daiichi,” said Ms. Wipper.

About Sanford Heisler, LLP

Sanford Heisler is a law firm with offices in Washington, D.C., New York, and San Francisco that specializes in employment discrimination, wage and hour, qui tam and complex class action litigation. The firm has represented thousands of individuals in major class action and individual cases in the United States. In May 2010, the firm won the largest jury award in the U.S. in a gender discrimination employment class action when a jury returned a verdict of $253 million in compensatory and punitive damages against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. In 2012, the firm won court approval to settle a wage and hour case on behalf of sales representatives employed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals for $99 million. For more information, contact Sanford Heisler at (646) 681-7373.