Class-action gender discrimination suit against Merck to move forward
- Five female Merck sales reps have filed a class-action gender discrimination lawsuit against the company, alleging numerous cases of gender discrimination, including pay and promotion discrimination and discrimination against pregnant sales reps and those who took pregnancy leave.
- Merck attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed in February; however, Judge Pisano of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey rejected the request on Thursday.
- The plaintiffs filed specific complaints, but also alleged that the atmosphere at Merck was like a "boys' club" in which women were at a professional disadvantage.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers have filed an amended 69-page complaint replete with specific instances of discrimination that reflect pay and promotion inequality, pregnancy discrimination and commentary about the generally hostile environment that female sales reps at Merck allege that they must contend with.
Efforts to dismiss such cases before any discovery has occurred is an oft-attempted tactic, but it did not work in this case. The $250 million suit is moving through the courts and will be adjudicated by Judge Pisano at the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.