Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp. agreed Wednesday to settle a highly publicized sex discrimination suit for $152.2 million.
A federal court jury in May found Novartis had discriminated against the women by paying them less than men, promoting fewer of them and allowing a hostile workplace. The jury startled the employment defense bar with an award of $3.36 million in compensatory damages to 12 named plaintiffs and $250 million in punitive damages to the entire class of 5,600 present and former female employees of Novartis. Plaintiffs attorneys said it was the largest ever class action discrimination award. The plaintiffs relied heavily on anecdotal information to make their case alleging unequal treatment in pay and promotions and adverse treatment after maternity leaves.