Processing Magazine

Novartis Fined $250 Million in Sex Discrimination Suit

May 20, 2010
According to Reuters, drug maker Novartis must pay $250 million in punitive damages for discriminating against thousands of female sales representatives over pay, promotion and pregnancy, a federal jury ruled on Wednesday. The decision was announced federal court in Manhattan by a jury of five women and four men who ruled Monday that the company’s United States division, the Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, engaged in a pattern of discrimination against women. The $250 million in punitive damages is 2.6 percent of the company’s $9.5 billion 2009 revenue. The women had sought from $190 million to $285 million. In the first part of its ruling, the jury awarded $3.3 million in compensatory damages to 12 of the women who testified. Novartis, showed a pattern of discrimination against women employees from 2002 through 2007, the jury found after a five-week trial and four days of deliberation. The award to the 12 opens the door for 5,588 others who can also apply for compensatory damages. The damages will likely be determined on an individual basis by a court-appointed special master.