Gender bias class action suit filed against Forest Pharmaceuticals

Posted July 5th, 2012.

As it appeared in Business Insurance

by Judy Greenwald

NEW YORK—A $100 million putative class action gender discrimination lawsuit was filed against Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc. Thursday in federal district court in New York.

The lawsuit, filed by New York-based plaintiff law firm Sanford Wittels & Heisler L.L.P. on behalf of female former sales representatives for the New York-based pharmaceutical firm, charges Forest with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, the Equal Pay Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The firm has “engaged in systemic, companywide discriminatory treatment of female employees based on their gender, their taking of federally and state-protected maternity leave, and their status as pregnant women or caregivers,” said the complaint, which estimates a class of about 1,500 employees.

Wittels partner David Sanford said in a statement, “Forest discriminates against women—particularly those who are pregnant or have family responsibilities—by paying them less than their male counterparts, denying them promotions and limiting their employment opportunities.”

A Forest spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

On June 29, a federal judge granted conditional class action certification to a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by Sanford Wittels on behalf of current and former public relations professionals of a major French advertising company and one of its units.

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