by Steven Ertelt
August 2, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A federal judge has ruled that female employees of Novartis Pharmaceuticals can move ahead with a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit they filed. The employees contend the company discriminated against them for being pregnant and suggested that they should have abortions.
U.S. District Court Judge Gerard Lynch ruled 19 current and former employees can move ahead with their class action lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company.
Lynch’s ruling means their attorneys can represent up to 5,000 current and former employees since 2002, according to a New York Times report. Judge Lynch had previously rejected a lawsuit against Novartis Pharmaceuticals’ parent company, Novartis Corporation.
According to the suit, three of the women involved and 28 other women who filed affidavits said the women were given demotions, mistreated and were subject to arbitrary discipline, denial of promotions and termination after getting pregnant.
"Many attest to specific comments by managers indicating a hostility to pregnancy," Lynch wrote in his opinion, according to the newspaper.
One Novartis reportedly encouraged one female worker to get an abortion and another woman alleged that Novartis officials told women at a training session that they shouldn’t get pregnant.
Lynch wrote, "The declarant, five months pregnant at the time, drew the eye of the trainer, who said, ‘Oops, too late.’"
Sherry Pudloski, spokesperson for Novartis Pharmaceuticals, told the Times that the company is examining the new ruling and declined to comment.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there were 4,901 pregnancy discrimination complaints filed last year, which is an increase from the 3,977 filed in 1997.