New York Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Case Decision: Novartis to Pay $3.3 Million (and Punitive Damages)

Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis was found guilty of New York sexual harassment and discrimination last Monday by a jury and ordered to pay out $3.3 million to a dozen women who headed up a class action suit. Altogether, around 5,600 women may receive compensation from the corporation. The Class seeks $200 million for lost wages and benefits, back pay and punitive damages. The women allege that they had been the targets of sexual harassment, and that the firm generally mistreated them. A counsel for the plaintiffs declared that Novartis was “not a place where you’d want your wife, your mother, your sister, or your daughter to work… Novartis paid women less, wouldn’t promote them… and [would punish] them if they got pregnant.”

A District Manager allegedly forced his female sales reps to watch pornography and invited them to “sit on his lap.” Another allegation involved accusations that women sales reps had been encouraged to offer themselves sexually to doctors to facilitate the sale of pharmaceuticals.

The legal fireworks are not yet over for Novartis. Individual members of the Class may go before a Magistrate Judge in the next few months to provide evidence of specific wrongdoing and seek personal compensatory damages.

What can and should you do if you find yourself in a workplace situation where there is obvious sexual harassment or discrimination going on?

Ideally, your company should have a system in place to prevent and punish bad behavior. But sometimes the system fails. The corporate culture may be so toxic that your best solution will be to retain independent outside counsel. If you have questions about or need help with your work-related problems, connect with the attorneys of Joseph & Kirschenbaum at once to go over your legal options. You can end the frustrating, aggressive, and potentially even dangerous behavior that’s made going to work so uncomfortable for you. Call us now for a free and completely confidential consultation at (212) 688-5640.

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