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Labor & Employment

Pregnancy-Bias Class Action OK’d

Posted Aug 2, 2007 10:03 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal judge has certified a class action lawsuit on behalf of female sales agents who say Novartis Pharmaceuticals discriminated against them for becoming pregnant.

The class could include 4,000 to 5,000 current and former employees, the New York Times reports. David Sanford, who represents the plaintiffs, told the newspaper he believes the case is the second largest gender discrimination case to get class action status.

The largest contends Wal-Mart discriminated against an estimated two million women. It is pending in California federal court.

Judge Gerard Lynch of New York City wrote in his opinion released yesterday that several women submitted affidavits supporting allegations of discrimination by Novartis. “Many attest to specific comments by managers indicating a hostility to pregnancy,” he wrote

One woman said a manager indicated he didn’t want to hire young women, explaining his reasoning this way: “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes flex time and a baby carriage.”

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