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Bayer Gets $100M Gender Class Action Headache
Date:3/21/2011

han women, describing females as prone to "mood swings," "indecision," and "backstabbing;" and concluding that "women with power are 'loose cannons' who often feel threatened by colleagues."  The complaint also cites comments by managers disparaging working mothers and declaring that Bayer "needed to stop hiring women of reproductive age."  

The plaintiffs assert that senior managers have made negative comments about women discussing or acknowledging child-care responsibilities and have overlooked female employees who availed themselves of federally-protected maternity leave for promotions.  As Class Representative Vicky Barghout explained, "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."

In response to their complaints of discrimination and retaliation, the Class Representatives were told by Bayer managers they should "know better" and that "the company won't do anything about [their complaints]."  Corroborating this lack of concern, the Bayer's Human Resources Department responded to females' complaints by characterizing gender discrimination as "a grey area" that should be handled by the employee, not the Company.  

According to Class Representative Jennifer Musumeci, "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 a
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SOURCE Sanford Wittels & Heisler LLP
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