Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NPC), a US subsidiary of Novartis AG, and Sanford Wittels & Heisler, LLP, Counsel to the Plaintiffs and the Class, have announced an amicable end to their litigation.
Today the parties filed papers in the Southern District of New York memorialising a settlement agreement including up to USD152.5 million in payments to eligible class members and NPC’s funding, over three years, of improvements to policies and programs valued at an estimated USD22.5 million.
While the company maintains that the alleged behavior described during the trial is not systemic, NPC has agreed with the Plaintiffs to end the ongoing proceedings and make monetary payments to eligible class members for back-pay and compensatory damages in the amount of up to USD152.5 million.
“While we believe that there was not systemic discrimination at NPC, the trial revealed that some of our associates had experiences influenced by managerial behavior inconsistent with our values” said Joe Jimenez, CEO of Novartis AG.
“As a company we are now even more strongly resolved to ensure that all our employees act and behave in accordance with our corporate values. We aspire to be a leader in diversity and inclusion, and I am committed to implementing decisive measures to ensure that we act in accordance with our values.”
“Novartis has agreed to a momentous settlement,” explained David Sanford, lead counsel for the Plaintiffs.
“The terms of this agreement allow for full compensation of both former and current female field force employees, ensuring that every woman who worked at Novartis over the past eight years has been compensated fairly.”
As part of the agreement and consistent with its philosophy to foster a diverse and inclusive workforce, NPC is implementing comprehensive programs designed to ensure fair treatment of all members of the NPC sales force. The measures agreed to by the parties set high standards, and the company is committed to occupy a leadership position for gender equity in the industry.
“In this settlement, Novartis establishes itself as a leader on issues for women in the workplace,” said Katherine Kimpel, co-lead counsel for the Plaintiffs.
“In particular, NPC is committed to substantially revising its human resources policies, revamping its personnel management systems, and strengthening its commitment to ensuring gender equality in the workplace.”
As part of the measures, NPC will enhance many of its ongoing commitments to all employees and will add additional programs and initiatives to further strengthen its commitment to a diverse and inclusive environment. For example:
NPC will revise its sexual harassment policy and training, making it even clearer that the company will not tolerate inappropriate behavior or comments from employees, customers or healthcare providers.
NPC will also further strengthen its complaint process to ensure employees can safely raise concerns and that those concerns will be addressed in a timely and thorough fashion;
NPC will retain an external specialist to conduct adverse impact analyses aimed at identifying and remedying, with recommendations from Class Counsel, unjustified gender disparities;
NPC will revise its performance management process to ensure it is fair to all employees.
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