Posted July 21st, 2016.
NEW YORK, July 21, 2016 — The women in Smith et al. v. Merck & Co., Inc. et. al., 3:13-cv-02970 (D.N.J.), a $250 million gender bias class action, reached another milestone on Thursday, when Counsel for the Plaintiffs, Sanford Heisler, LLP and Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec LLC, announced that more than 400 women have come forward with claims of discrimination in the past month. This brings the total number of women asserting that Merck discriminated against them to 405. There remain three weeks for current and former female employees to join the class.
“The message sent by these women is clear: Many women across the country believe that they suffered pay discrimination while working at Merck,” said David Sanford, Chairman of Sanford Heisler, LLP and co-lead counsel for the Plaintiffs. “What started out as one woman against a corporation has now grown to more than four hundred,” he continued. Russell Kornblith, Senior Litigation Counsel at Sanford Heisler, LLP, added, “pay discrimination on the basis of gender is illegal, and it is also illegal to retaliate against anyone who joins this lawsuit. These are important civil rights, and we are committed to vindicating them.”
On April 27, 2016, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey ordered that female sales representatives across the country be given notice of their opportunity to join the Equal Pay Act lawsuit against Merck. On June 16, 2016, Sanford Heisler, LLP and Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec LLC sent 3,183 women the court authorized notice. These women were given an opportunity to join the case through the web portal www.genderclassaction.com.
In addition to challenging unequal, centralized pay decisions in their suit against Merck & Co., Inc., Merck Sharp & Dohme, Corp., and Intervet, Inc., the Plaintiffs also allege that Merck systematically discriminates against female sales representatives, and pregnant women in particular, in promotions and other terms and conditions of employment. The Plaintiffs plan to seek class certification of their systemic gender discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in the coming months.
“We are pleased with the great response of the female class,” said Deborah Marcuse of Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec, LLC, co-lead counsel for Plaintiffs and the class. “In the three weeks remaining for female current and former Merck employees to join the class, we expect that many more women will file their opt-in forms. These women should all be celebrated as champions in the fight for equal pay for women.”
Plaintiffs and the class are represented by David Sanford, Andrew Melzer, Russell Kornblith, and David Tracey of Sanford Heisler, LLP and by Deborah Marcuse of Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec, LLC.