Two female employees of Boston Scientific‘s (NYSE:BSX) neuromodulation business filed a $50 million class-action lawsuit alleging sex discrimination, alleging that the company fosters a culture in which men feel free to harass and discriminate against women.
The plaintiffs are Denise Fretter, a regional business manager in Ohio, and former Nevada territory manager Maria Korsgaard. Fretter and Korsgaard are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, back pay, front pay, compensatory, nominal and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and costs on behalf of all female sales reps for Boston Scientific’s neuromodulation business, according to court documents.
"[Boston Scientific Neuromodulation Corp.] fosters a culture where male members of management are free to harass and denigrate women, with impunity. Complaining to superiors about discrimination is widely known as committing ‘career suicide,’" according to the lawsuit.
"Female sales representatives in different regions across the country are subjected to similar forms of discriminatory treatment, ranging from blatant sexual advances to unfairly taking away accounts or upping quotas – in other words, setting female sales representatives up for lower compensation, missing targets, harsher working conditions, and other barriers to achieving equal pay and promotion opportunities for equal work," the plaintiffs allege.
Kelly Leadem, a spokeswoman for the Marlborough, Mass.-based medical device company, told MassDevice.com via email that Boston Scientific doesn’t believe there’s any basis for the claims or for class-action status.
"Boston Scientific is fully committed to diversity – it’s a core value of our company – and to providing equal employment opportunities for all of our employees," Leadem wrote. "We believe this case lacks merit, and is led by a law firm known for filing many similar complaints against companies. We intend to vigorously defend against the claims and allegations in this case."
Sanford Heisler Kimpel, the law firm representing Fetter and Korsgaard, this week also leveled a $110 million gender discrimination case against the Alcon division of Swiss pharma giant Novartis (NYSE:NVS). In 2010, the firm represented the women sales reps who won a $250 million judgment against Novartis in New Jersey.