NEW YORK, Nov. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Sanford Heisler, LLP, today added six additional female plaintiffs to the $100 million gender discrimination employment class action complaint the firm initially filed in July against New York-based Forest Laboratories, Inc., and Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
The amended complaint was filed in the federal court for the Southern District of New York this morning. It increases the number of named plaintiffs to ten and provides additional support to the assertion that Forest discriminates against its female employees from coast to coast.
"The amended complaint reflects the unfortunate reality that the first four named plaintiffs comprise just a fraction of the women subjected to gender discrimination at Forest Pharmaceuticals," said David Sanford, Chairman of Sanford Heisler LLP and lead attorney for the plaintiffs. "Information about the full extent of the hostile work environment that pregnant women and mothers endure companywide continues to emerge, as more and more women employed by this pharma giant find out that much of what they are subjected to as Forest employees is illegal. We expect this class to be quite large."
The new named plaintiffs – all of whom are current or former high-performing Forest sales representatives – are Los Angeles residents Kimberly Clinton and Maria Avila; York, PA, resident Erin Eckenrode; Lebanon, PA, resident Julie Smyth; Louisville, KY, resident Andrea Harley; and Girard, IL, resident Christy Louder. The four original plaintiffs are Pennsylvania resident Megan Barrett and Texas residents, Lindsey Houser, Jennifer Jones and Jennifer Seard.
All ten named plaintiffs are current or former sales representatives of Forest. "This case is very similar in many ways to the Novartis gender discrimination case we tried in the Southern District of New York in 2010 where, on behalf of the female sales reps, we won a $253 million jury verdict," said Mr. Sanford.
The original and amended complaints assert Forest's female sales representatives have been and continue to be paid less than similarly situated male employees, despite the women's exemplary work performance. As a result of their gender, all ten of the named plaintiffs were denied bonuses, promotions, stock options and other employment incentives to which they were entitled.
Today's complaint also adds additional documentation about Forest's pervasive pattern of discrimination and harassment of pregnant sales representatives and female sales representatives responsible for the care of their young or ill children. It also offers strong support for the ten plaintiffs' common assertions that Forest ignores, disregards, minimizes, covers up or mishandles evidence of gender discrimination nationwide.
The experiences of the women added by this amended complaint echo those of the original plaintiffs: When females reported the discrimination and harassment to which they were subjected to their superiors or to the company's human resource department, each of them was retaliated against and several lost their jobs. Furthermore, no disciplinary action was taken against the males who discriminated against and harassed them.
"We do not know whether Forest does not have or does not choose to follow the gender neutral policies, practices and procedures that are required by federal and state laws," said Katherine Leong, a member of the litigation team at Sanford Heisler. "We also do not know why – when Forest is provided repeatedly with information that pregnant women and mothers are among those most severely harassed and discriminated against -- that this giant company consistently ignores these reports and punishes the women who make them. What we do know is that this gender harassment and discrimination have already persisted too long and must be brought to an end."
Forest Laboratories' (NYSE: FRX) is a global company that develops and markets prescription and non-prescription pharmaceutical products across the United States. On October 16, 2012, the company projected a 2013 income of $3.2 billion.
Today's amended filing seeks class certification as the most efficient, economical means of addressing the questions of law common to the plaintiffs' claims of a systematic pattern and practice of gender discrimination by Forest against its female employees. The complaint also seeks a declaratory judgment that Forest has engaged in systemic gender discrimination; a permanent injunction against continuing discrimination; and injunctive relief that includes a restructuring of many of Forest's personnel policies and procedures so that females can compete fairly in the future under the conditions of employment traditionally enjoyed by the company's male employees.
In addition, equitable relief in the form of a restructuring at Forest so that female employees advance into the higher and better-paying jobs they would have held in the absence of Forest's pervasive gender discrimination is requested. Back pay, front pay and other equitable remedies that will redress the past discrimination, as well as compensatory damages, punitive damages and court and legal fees are also requested, as is a jury trial.
About Sanford Heisler, LLP
Sanford Heisler is a law firm with offices in Washington, D.C., New York, and San Francisco that specializes in employment discrimination, wage and hour, qui tam and consumer actions and complex corporate class action litigation and has represented thousands of individuals in major class action cases in the United States. The firm also represents individual clients in employment, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, whistleblower, public accommodations, commercial, medical malpractice, and personal injury matters. In May 2010, the firm won the largest jury award in the U.S. in a gender discrimination employment class action when a jury returned a verdict of $253 million in compensatory and punitive damages against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. In 2012, the firm won court approval to settle a wage and hour case on behalf of sales reps employed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals for $99 million. For more information, contact Sanford Heisler at (202) 742-7777.
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SOURCE Sanford Heisler, LLP