Merck Sales Representative Seeks Class Status in Gender and Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

A female sales representative for drug manufacturer Merck & Company has reportedly filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the company in a New Jersey federal court. According to the woman, the company’s sales plans punish women for taking maternity leave and fail to provide female employees with equal opportunity for advancement. The woman, who has apparently worked at the number two drug manufacturer in the United States for approximately nine years, claims she was unfairly demoted and her reputation was harmed after she took maternity leave in 2010.

In her complaint, the woman alleges that Merck discourages the hiring and promotion of female sales representatives. She also claims management actively attempts to persuade pregnant employees to quit their jobs as a result of the current management pay structure. At Merck, a manager’s compensation is purportedly impacted by employees who take federal and state-protected maternity leave. According to the woman, male workers are provided with more opportunities to develop industry contacts while females are allegedly told to choose between a family and a career. The woman also apparently asked the court to certify a class-action lawsuit for female Merck sales employees who suffered employment discrimination since October 2009.

A representative for Merck has reportedly denied the allegations and said the company has “a strong anti-discrimination policy.” Still, this is not the first time a drug company was accused of gender and pregnancy discrimination. In 2010, a Manhattan jury ordered drug manufacturer Novartis to pay approximately $250 million in punitive damages over similar allegations.

Sadly, pregnancy discrimination is common. Pregnancy discrimination results when an employer treats a pregnant employee unfavorably or in a prejudicial manner due to her pregnancy or medical conditions related to a pregnancy. Although pregnancy discrimination can take many forms, it normally results when and employer refuses to hire a woman who is pregnant, decreases the number of hours or assignments for a pregnant employee, disciplines a pregnant worker in response to pregnancy-related leave requests, or when an employer fires, demotes, or refuses to promote a woman as a result of her pregnancy. If you believe you were the victim of pregnancy discrimination, you should contact a quality attorney to discuss your rights.

The lawyers at Phillips & Associates represent employees and job seekers in the New York City area who have experienced pregnancy and other forms of employment discrimination in violation of federal, state, and local laws. To schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced attorney, do not hesitate to call Phillips & Associates at (212) 248-7431 or contact us through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Federal Court Says New York City Gender and Harassment Case Must Go to Trial, According to Second Circuit, New York Employment Attorney Blog, May 8, 2013
Women Speak Out About Sexual Harassment in the Gaming Industry, New York Employment Attorney Blog, April 29, 2013
Additional Resources:

$100M lawsuit against Merck alleges discrimination against female employees, by The Associated Press,

Merck sued for $100 million in sexual bias case, by Reuters,


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