Washington Post, May 9, 2013 – Merck sales rep files lawsuit saying company discriminates against women and pregnant women

Posted May 9th, 2013.

NEW YORK (Associated Press) — A Merck & Co. sales representative is suing the drugmaker for at least $100 million, saying Merck doesn’t give women equal opportunities for advancement and punishes employees for taking maternity leave.

She wants to create a class action lawsuit on behalf of women sales representatives who have worked at Merck since October 2009.

Smith says she has won awards for her work but was unfairly demoted after taking maternity leave in 2010, and was told by her team leader that she’d been demoted because of the timing of her leave. She was told she was ineligible for a prestigious company award for the same reason. She says every other member of her team received that award in 2011 except a female employee with children and a man who had just joined the company. Some of the award-winners had lower sales totals than Smith did.

Merck is based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., and it is the world’s third-largest drug company in terms of sales. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. It alleges Merck’s actions violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This article originally appeared in The Washington Post.

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