Employees accuse Bayer of sex discrimination

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/03/21/employees-accuse-bayer-of-sex-discrimination/

By Reuters
Monday, March 21st, 2011

NEW YORK – Six former and current employees of a U.S. unit of Bayer AG filed a class-action lawsuit against the company on Monday, alleging gender discrimination in pay, promotions and the treatment of pregnant women and mothers.

The lawsuit, filed against Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey federal court, sought $100 million in lost pay and benefits as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

The plaintiffs, women who served at the associate-director level or higher, blamed a male-dominated management team for fostering an environment that was hostile to women. According to the complaint, internal company communications stated a preference for men in leadership roles and described women as “loose cannons” prone to “mood swings,” “indecision,” and “backstabbing.”

The complaint also cited examples of overt hostility toward motherhood and pregnancy, including the denial of promotions for women who took maternity leave and a senior manager’s alleged statement that he “needed to stop hiring women of reproductive age.”

The company denied all allegations of gender discrimination and said it would vigorously defend itself against the charges. The company is committed to nondiscrimination and equal treatment for all employees, it said in a statement.

The lawsuit is the latest in a string of gender discrimination class actions filed by Sanford Wittels & Heisler against large corporations on behalf of female employees. On March 3, the firm filed a suit against health insurer Cigna Corp for allegedly blocking women from promotions and higher-paying jobs. The same firm sued Publicis Groupe on February 24, describing the multinational advertising conglomerate’s glass ceiling as a “cement wall.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/03/21/employees-accuse-bayer-of-sex-discrimination/

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