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Posted: May 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on – Jury Finds Sex Bias by Novartis, Supports Punitive Damages

Multinational Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. was ordered to pay $3.3 million in compensatory damages after a jury of 5 women and 4 men found the company guilty of "discriminating against women in pay and promotion and on the basis of pregnancy," Mark Hamblett writes at According to plaintiffs' lawyer, Steven Wittels, "this is the first gender bias class action in which a jury will have awarded punitive damages. [The judgment] is a resounding verdict for women all across the country, both at Novartis and elsewhere, who for too long have been underpaid and underpromoted and have suffered at the hands of male-dominated companies."

The company released a statement expressing disappointment in the verdict and "maintained the company believed plaintiffs' claims [of paying women less than similarly situated men are] unfounded." The defense team said "random or isolated acts of discrimination" only amount to "anecdotal evidence." Some 5,600 women are part of the class-action suit.

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Update: Two days after finding the company guilty of discriminating against women, a U.S. jury decided that Novartis Corp. must pay $250 million in punitive damages, Reuters reports. David Sanford, a lawyer for the women, “had argued in court on Tuesday that the jury should award between $190 million and $285 million in punitive damages, which is about 2 to 3 percent of the company’s $9.5 billion 2009 revenue.”

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