In February 2011 a former healthcare director at MSL, Monique da Silva Moore, filed a $100 million class action gender discrimination suit against the company. The suit alleges that MSL and parent company Publicis:
• Paid female execs less
• Did not promote women equally to men
• Demoted, fired, and reassigned female staffers during a 2009 company reorganization.
Court filings describe senior male execs as behaving derogatorily toward female employees. And also allege that senior male execs discriminated against employees who became pregnant and/or took maternity leave—including firing those employees in large numbers. And that MSL’s HR directors did not stop discriminatory pay, leave and termination decisions that affected the female employees adversely. The plaintiffs also allege that their male counterparts at MSL earned an average of $15,000 more per year 2008 and 2009, and an average of $18,500 more in 2010.
Recently the plaintiffs filed a motion to give their lawsuit a new class status which could open participation in the suit to hundreds more women. The plaintiffs are seeking class certification under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
If the motion for class certification is successful, it could potentially increase the plaintiffs from 33 women to nearly 300.
Employment discrimination is a serious matter
It may be months or even years before we learn the outcome of the case against MSL, but it can still serve as a cautionary tale. Employers who do not take complaints of discrimination seriously, can find themselves in court defending a multimillion dollar lawsuit. In today’s business arena there is no wiggle room when it comes to how employers handle discrimination and harassment complaints. And it is imperative that all employers review their current harassment and discrimination policies to ensure they are not at risk for lawsuits.
Protect your company and talk to an NY employment law attorney today
Employment law can be complex and will only become more so given the ever increasing laws, regulations and government rules. Stephen D. Hans & Associates, helps New York employers stay on top of laws that affect their businesses and provides legal guidance to protect them against litigation. To discuss your discrimination policies or other employment law matters, contact our office or call 718-275-6700 to schedule an appointment.