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Woman accuses employer of promoting culture of discrimination

Federal law requires businesses who employ 50 or more people to abide by the terms of the Family Medical Leave Act. Signed into law by President Clinton in 1993, FMLA provides job protection and unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks to employees going through specific family oriented situations.

Many women use FMLA in conjunction with short-term disability when they have a baby. Doing so allows a woman to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave and provides time necessary to both physically recover and bond with a newborn baby. Sadly, despite the existence of federal laws such as FMLA, some employers actively seek to discriminate against women and mothers.

A woman recently filed a lawsuit against her employer, citing the company actively and openly discriminates against woman and mothers. According to the lawsui,t the plaintiff, who works as a successful sales representative at a large pharmaceutical company, enacted FMLA and went on maternity leave in 2010. Upon her return from leave, she claims she encountered discrimination and was unfairly treated. Prior to going on leave the woman, who holds a senior sales position, had been commended for her exemplary performance.

In the lawsuit, the woman asserts that the defendant openly seeks to discriminate against women by docking the pay of those members of the leadership team who have employees that take FMLA. This practice discourages management from hiring and promoting women for fear that doing so will ultimately cut into their own personal bottom-line.

The plaintiff is seeking compensation in an amount in excess of $100 million related to sex discrimination and FLMA discrimination. A similar case was brought against another pharmaceutical company in 2010 and resulted in a $250 million settlement. We'll continue to follow this case and provide updates on whether or not the plaintiff's lawsuit proves successful.


Source: Thomson Reuters News & Insight, “Merck sales rep claims sexual bias, seeks over $100 mln,” Ransdell Pierson, May 9, 2013

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