Class Strikes Mother Lode in Gender/Pregnancy Claims Against Employer Honored by “Working Mother” Magazine


For ten straight years “Working Mother” magazine has listed drug maker Novartis among the best 100 companies for working women. Unfortunately for Novartis, a federal jury in New York was not impressed. On May 19, 2010, this jury awarded $250 million in punitive damages to women who have worked as sales representatives or entry-level managers for Novartis dating back to 2002. The plaintiffs had asked the jury to award the class two to three percent of Novartis’s 2009 revenues, and the $250 million figure falls in the middle of that range. With a certified class of close to 5,600 women, the award amounts to close to $45,000 per class member. Earlier in the week, the jury had awarded $3.4 million in compensatory damages to the 12 individuals who served as representative plaintiffs.

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