A federal district court in New York Nov. 19 gave final approval to a $175 million settlement of a sex discrimination class action against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., benefiting a class of more than 6,000 female current and former sales representatives who alleged systemic discrimination in pay, promotions, and other working conditions (Velez v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., S.D.N.Y., No. 04-9194, final approval of settlement 11/19/10).
Following a fairness hearing at which no objections were raised to the proposed settlement, Judge Colleen McMahon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted final approval to a pact including $152.5 million in back wages, benefits, and adjusted wages, service payments to named plaintiffs who helped litigate the case, and attorneys' fees and costs, plus $22.5 million in nonmonetary relief representing Novartis's commitments to revise its employment policies to eliminate sex discrimination. The court had given preliminary approval to the settlement in July (61 BTM 227, 7/20/10).
Novartis and the plaintiffs' class settled the case following a jury verdict against the company under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (61 BTM 162, 5/25/10) and jury awards of $3.4 million in compensatory damages and $250 million in punitive damages.
At the Nov. 19 fairness hearing, the court certified a settlement class of 6,026 female sales employees who worked at Novartis at any point from July 15, 2002, through July 14, 2010, the date the court gave its preliminary approval.
“This is an excellent monetary agreement for female sales representatives of Novartis,” plaintiffs' attorney David Sanford of Sanford Wittels & Heisler in Washington, D.C., said in a written statement preceding the hearing.
In a Nov. 19 statement, Novartis said that in accord with the settlement and “consistent with its philosophy to foster a diverse and inclusive workforce,” the company is “implementing comprehensive programs designed to ensure fair treatment” of all its employees.
Filed in 2004, the Title VII suit alleged that Novartis was a male-dominated company that denied advancement to female sales representatives and was unresponsive to their complaints about unfair treatment. The plaintiffs alleged systemic sex discrimination in pay, promotions, and pregnancy leave policies.
Some plaintiffs also alleged sexual harassment, testifying that Novartis expected female sales representatives to accept sexual advances from doctors on whom they called and that the company disregarded female employees' complaints about doctors' sexually inappropriate conduct.
Text of the settlement can be accessed at http://op.bna.com/dlrcases.nsf/r?Open=jcwl-87dm4f.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)