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Gender Discrimination Suit Filed Against Bayer

Gender discrimination in the workplace is serious and expensive. Just ask Bayer Corporation and Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals. According to Bloomberg online, a $100 million class action gender discrimination law suit has been filed against the companies, alleging discriminatory practices in the treatment of female employees, and in particular pregnant women and mothers.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey, the suit cites a pattern and practice of discrimination in pay, promotions and the treatment of pregnant women and mothers by the multinational corporation. Filed under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and New Jersey law, the lawsuit details Bayer’s discriminatory practices, including company-issued articles disparaging women as managers. It also cites negative comments by senior managers regarding working mothers and suggesting that Bayer "needed to stop hiring women of reproductive age."

The suit is filed by six Class Representatives on behalf of themselves and a class of female employees of Bayer situated in Associate Director positions or higher. The gender discrimination suit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, back pay, front pay and lost benefits, as well as compensatory, nominal and punitive damages in an amount of $100 million or more for the Class Representatives and similarly situated female employees.

Class Representative Victoria Barghout commented, "My pregnancy should have been a time of joy, laughter and happiness. But I was not able to enjoy that because of Bayer's discrimination against me, and I will never be able to get that experience back. No company has the right to do that. Bayer does not respect the mothers who work for it; instead it rewards hard-working mothers and pregnant women with demotions, pay reductions, and denial of job opportunities. All of this from a company that is supposed to concern itself with women's health."

Class Representative Jennifer Musumeci adds, "We and the other women at Bayer take our careers very seriously, and our income is important to our families. For years, we tried to overcome the prejudice and discrimination at Bayer by proving ourselves to be even better than required. When that didn't work, we went to HR and Senior Management. Human Resources and Senior Management have failed us and Bayer's female employees. It is our hope that through the court, we can make things better for women at the Company."

The allegations in this gender discrimination suit against Bayer call to mind the discrimination against female employees at Novartis Pharmaceuticals. A gender class action suit against Novartis culminated in favor of the Class with a record-breaking jury award of more than $250 million in 2010. In September, 2010, according to Bloomberg, three women filed a gender discrimination suit against Goldman Sachs.

If you believe you have been discriminated against or retaliated against because of your gender or your current or future reproductive status, you should seek the advice of a knowledgeable employment law professional. Gender, Marital Status and Pregnancy are all protected categories in California. Shannon Foley fights for women’s rights and has won verdicts in Gender Discrimination and Retaliation cases for women who speak up when their rights are violated. Please call for a consult.


Shannon Foley has been an advocate for women for most of her career. She is a “Preeminent AV Rated” Attorney with Foley Lyman Law Group LLP as declared by Martindale-Hubbell, has been rated one of the “Top 5% of Attorneys, Employment Law,” and one of LA Magazine’s Southern California Super Lawyers since 2005.

We provide expert legal representation in all areas of Employment Law including Class Actions, Wrongful Termination, Workplace Discrimination for Age, Pregnancy, Gender, Sexual Orientation or Family Issues, Harassment at Work, Severance Negotiations as well as in Business Law, Transactional and Litigation in Los Angeles, Orange County and all of California.

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