Gender Discrimination Suit Against Novartis Gets Class Action Status

August 1, 2007 ( - A federal judge in New York gave the green light Tuesday to a class action gender discrimination suit filed by sales representatives at a unit of Novartis A.G, Reuters reported.

The 19 female members representing the class claim that women were discriminated against in pay and promotions, especially when they became pregnant. The original suit was filed in 2004 in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

The class of plaintiffs will consist of all women who hold, or have held, sales-related positions with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. since July 15, 2002. The unit has about 6,000 employees and is based in East Hanover, New Jersey.

In the ruling, U.S. District Judge Gerard Lynch of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said Novartis Corp., the parent company of the unit, could not be included as a defendant, saying it could not be held liable for its subsidiary’s actions.

The plaintiffs are seeking back pay, damages and other compensation.