A case arising out of New York demonstrates what not to say when a woman applies for a job. One male manager reportedly responded in an interview with a female applicant, "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes flex time and a baby carriage." This comment and others helped provide good evidence for a class action sex discrimination lawsuit against Novartis Pharmaceuticals. The class includes some 5600 women. See NY Times report.
Delaware Employment Law Blog is generally defense minded, but they understand, as we all should, that forming presumptions about gender roles based on caring for a family member is sex discrimination. There is a line of cases alleging so-called Family Caregiver Responsibility discrimination. Such duties often fall on a woman. This is a growing area of litigation.
The May, 2010 issue of the ABA Bar Journal says suits alleging bias asgainst workers caring for children or parents have increased 400% in the last decade. Employees prevail about half the time, which is much higher than other types of discrimination cases. A recent study on this topic found that in caregiver cases, 67% were related to pregnancy and maternity leave; 9.6% were related to elder care; 7% concerned sick children; 4% were related to caring for ill spouses and 2.4% were related to caring for a family member with a disability. 88% of such cases were filed by women.
On May 17, 2010, the jury returned a verdict in favor the women plaintiffs. See report. The jury awarded several million dollars in compensatory damages. The jury has yet to decide punitive damages, but indicated that it would assess punitive damages. Novartis, which has been included in one of the top 100 places for women to work may lose its ranking…..