In July of 2012, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against Forest Labs (now part of Allergan), on behalf of eleven female sales reps, as well as a class action. The reps alleged that Forest had discriminated against them in terms of both compensation and promotions on the basis of their gender and/or pregnancy status, and in some cases had unlawfully terminated them based on the same.
The full details and accounts of the eleven female sales reps can be viewed in the lawsuit linked here. In many cases, the reps had a record of meeting and exceeding sales goals, winning sales awards, being praised by customers and immediate supervisors, and had performance in the upper percentiles of sales rankings. Yet they were paid less than male counterparts with equal or lesser qualifications and performance, and passed over for promotions. This seemed particularly the case once they were visibly pregnant, or had taken maternity leave. Additionally, time off for maternity leave was not removed from the total time used in calculating rankings, therefore automatically lowering the reps’ rankings when a maternity leave had occurred. Finally, some alleged that they were subjected to gender harassment, ranging from probing questions about pregnancy, inappropriate comments about appearance, to sexual propositions.
In some cases, the reps did report their grievances to their managers and/or Forest Human Resources. Rather than investigating the issues, HR would tend to ignoring resolving the issues, and instead would put the female rep on probation, despite positive sales performance indicators.
Forest has denied all allegations in the case.
In October of 2017, a settlement of this case was reached in the amount of $4 million. The details of the settlement are discussed here. The class includes “all female sales force employees who are or were employed by Forest Laboratories, Inc., Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc., or any of their affiliates, parents, predecessors, or successors, and assigned to a legacy-Forest position of Sales Representative, Specialty Representative, Hospital Representative, Institutional Representative and/or Regional Sales Trainer in the United States for at least one day between February 6, 2010 and April 3, 2017.”
The objection/exclusion deadline is 4/16/2018, which means that any female in the above listed class who wishes to be excluded from the settlement should submit notification by that date. Those in the class who do wish to be part of the settlement need take no action, as pending final settlement approval, they will be automatically mailed a check for their portion of the settlement (which will be based on the length of time they were employed in the above class). The date of the final hearing regarding the settlement is currently set for 9:00 ET on 5/6/2018.