Posted October 10th, 2017.
By Paul Tassin
After more than five years of litigation, a Forest Laboratories gender and pregnancy discrimination class action has reached a $4 million settlement.
Ten employees of Forest Laboratories submitted the proposed settlement for court approval this past Friday. Under terms of the Forest Laboratories class action settlement, the company will create a $4 million settlement fund to be distributed among its female sales employees.
The fund will also cover service awards of up to $15,000 for the named plaintiffs, class counsel’s attorney fees, and the cost of administering the settlement.
This litigation started in July 2012, when plaintiffs Megan B., Lindsey H., Jennifer J. and Jennifer S. accused Forest Laboratories of discriminating against its female employees, particularly those who were pregnant during their employment.
Discrimination at Forest Laboratories was allegedly systematic and company-wide, the plaintiffs said, creating a discriminatory culture throughout the company.
The plaintiffs alleged Forest Laboratories paid them less than it paid their male counterparts who did comparable work, even though the plaintiffs had records of exemplary performance.
Female employees were allegedly denied bonuses and opportunities for promotion because of their sex, and also because they took maternity leave. Plaintiff Megan B. alleged she was placed on probation after returning from maternity leave, supposedly because Forest Laboratories counted the days she took off as days on which she made no sales.
Complaints to management and human resources were reportedly disregarded. The plaintiffs say Forest Laboratories management told them the discrimination they experienced was their own fault.
Within a few months, the first four plaintiffs had been joined by the remaining six. The parties engaged in prolonged investigation and discovery, including dozens of depositions.
After years of litigation, the parties reached the basic terms of the current class action settlement following one 12-hour marathon mediation session in April 2017.
In separate settlement agreements, Forest Laboratories has also agreed to resolve each of the class representatives’ individual claims, giving each representative benefits on top of those provided for in the class action settlement.
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The proposed settlement Class would cover all female sales force employees who are or were employed by Forest Laboratories or its related companies and assigned to a legacy-Forest position of Sales Representative, Specialty Representative, Hospital Representative, Institutional Representative or Regional Sales Trainer, within the U.S. and for at least one day between Feb. 6, 2010 and April 3, 2017.
The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Deborah K. Marcuse of Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec LLC, and by David W. Sanford, Jeremy Heisler, Michael Palmer, David Tracey, Melinda Koster, Nicole Wiitala, and Thomas Henderson of Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP.
The Forest Laboratories Gender Discrimination Class Action Lawsuit is Case No. 1:12-cv-05224, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.