Women Accused Bayer of Gender Bias

March 23, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Six former and current employees of a U.S. unit of Bayer A.G. filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the company, alleging bias against females in pay, promotions and the treatment of pregnant women and mothers.

Reuters reported the lawsuit, filed against Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey federal court, sought $100 million in lost pay and benefits as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

According to the news account, the plaintiffs served at the associate-director level or higher and blamed a male-dominated management team for creating an anti-woman working environment. The complaint quoted internal company communications stated a preference for men in leadership roles and described women as “loose cannons” prone to “mood swings,” “indecision,” and “backstabbing.”

The complaint also cited examples of overt hostility toward motherhood and pregnancy, including the denial of promotions for women who took maternity leave and a senior manager’s alleged statement that he “needed to stop hiring women of reproductive age,” Reuters said.

The company denied all allegations of gender discrimination and said it would vigorously defend itself against the charges. The company is committed to nondiscrimination and equal treatment for all employees, it said in a statement to Reuters.