Newark, NJ: Just days after the one year anniversary of winning a $250 million verdict for female sales representatives at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, a nearly identical discrimination class action has been filed on behalf of female sales representatives at Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals.
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 behaviors from senior Bayer individuals, including 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."
The female pharmaceutical sales representatives at Bayer newly added to the class have been paid and promoted less than their male counterparts. For example, Class Representative Natalie Celske is a high-performing sales representative who has been with Bayer for thirteen 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.
When Ms. Celske raised questions about the lack of advancement opportunities, her male manager commented that opportunities were set aside to support a lower-performing male colleague's career development. When she asked what about her own career development, the male manager derisively scoffed "what about it?"
Further echoing some of the most compelling testimony in the Novartis gender discrimination case, 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. For example, Class Representative Vera Santangelo suffered discrimination at the hands of an attorney working as Senior Counsel for Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care division.
According to an attorney representing the Ms. Santangelo, Vera sought help within the company in every way possible – she called the hotline, spoke with the Ombudsman, and otherwise reached out to Human Resources, the Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, and to both the former and the current Presidents of Bayer HealthCare Consumer Care.
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.