Sanford Heisler Kimpel Secures Final Approval of $8.2M Settlement in Daiichi Sankyo Gender Discrimination Case

Posted February 22nd, 2016.

 Settlement Assures Extensive Programmatic Relief Company-Wide

February 22, 2016, San Francisco, CA – Sanford Heisler Kimpel LLP, a leading national civil rights law firm, continued its battle against Big Pharma this week, securing an $8.2M monetary settlement and impressive programmatic reforms for female sales professionals at Daiichi Sankyo, the Japanese-based, multinational drug company.

The nearly 1,600 female plaintiffs were represented in the class action by the law firm’s Chairman David Sanford, San Francisco Managing Partner Felicia Medina and Associates Yonina Alexander and Danielle Fuschetti.

According to the Complaint, Daiichi Sankyo historically paid its female sales employees less than male employees for doing the same work; promoted or advanced female sales employees at slower rates than male sales employees and treated pregnant employees and working mothers of young children adversely compared to non-pregnant employees, male employees, or non-caregivers.

Wellens et al v. Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. was the first gender discrimination collective action ever certified in the 9th Circuit under the Federal Equal Pay Act. Plaintiff Sara Wellens and five other named plaintiffs filed the Complaint on behalf of female sales professionals at the Company in 2013.

“This settlement represents far more than monetary compensation for the women at Daiichi Sanyko who experienced gender discrimination,” said David Sanford. “This outcome also provides an excellent example of how women who don’t just lean in, but push back, can achieve far-reaching changes that improve the conditions of employment for future generations of women. Sanford Heisler Kimpel will continue to fight for the elimination of gender discrimination in all industries, including the global pharmaceutical industry.”

Sanford Heisler also enjoyed success against Forest Pharmaceuticals, whose female employees reported similar workplace discrimination based on their gender and pregnancy status. The Court recently granted Equal Pay Act certification.  The firm also has a gender discrimination class matter pending against Merck.

The Daiichi settlement will result in major changes in Daiichi Sankyo’s treatment of the company’s female sales professionals. The company agreed to devote a proportion of the settlement funds to providing ongoing training to managers about preventing gender discrimination, harassment and retaliatory behavior. In addition, Daiichi Sankyo agreed to revise its merit increase pay policies that disadvantaged employees who took medical leaves of absence, including maternity leave. It will also hire an expert HR consultant recommended by Plaintiffs’ counsel to revamp its policies to ensure that women, working mothers, and pregnant sales employees are provided with more equal employment opportunities and necessary accommodations.  Sanford Heisler will monitor Daiichi Sankyo’s progress for two years.

“We always strive to include in settlements training and policy changes to ensure the end of workplace discrimination” said Felicia Medina.  “We are proud to help generate equal pay, fair promotion opportunities, and a safe and fair environment for pregnant employees.”

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