Friday, July 16, 2010
Female sales representatives at Novartis have agreed to accept $175 Million to settle their sex discrimination class action in the case of Velez v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., No. 04-9194 (S.D.N.Y. July 14, 2010).
The district judge granted preliminary approval of the settlement, involving a nationwide class of female current and former sales employees to settle claims of systemic sex bias in pay, promotions, and pregnancy leave.
The break down involves the company paying up to $152.5 million in back pay and compensatory damages and an additional $22.5 million in nonmonetary relief for companywide equal employment opportunity improvements, training, and enhanced bias complaint processes for its sales staff.
You may recall that a May 19th jury verdict how awarding the class some $250 million dollars in punitive damages. This settlement would replace that verdict and compensate as many as 5,600 current and former female sales employees who worked for the company between July 15, 2002, and July 14, 2010.
Not surprisingly, Novartis has denied all wrongdoing according to the settlement agreement.
My thoughts go to Dukes v. Walmart and whether the experience of Novartis will give impetus to Walmart to consider settling their much larger class action, with approximately two million employees involved.