University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Bellifemine v. Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC EE-NY-0211
Docket / Court 07-CV-02207 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On March 14, 2007, a group of female current and former employees of Sanofi-Aventis US (a pharmaceutical company) filed this class action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et seq. and New ... read more >
On March 14, 2007, a group of female current and former employees of Sanofi-Aventis US (a pharmaceutical company) filed this class action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et seq. and New York Executive Law § 296. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the Court for declaratory and injunctive relief, including back and front pay, compensatory, nominal and punitive damages, alleging that the defendant discriminated against female employees. Specifically, the plaintiffs contended that Sanofi-Aventis discriminated with respect to its policies, practices and selection procedures for promotion, a disparate pay scale and differential terms and conditions of employment.

The plaintiffs allege that the defendant subjected female employees to a continuing systemic discrimination which resulted in both a disparate impact and disparate treatment in the areas of promotion, training and performance evaluation, which relied on subjective judgments, and further that the defendant's refusal to establish clear guidelines could not be justified as a business necessity. More specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendant pre-selects and 'grooms' male employees for promotions, favorable assignments and training, fails to provide all employees with a consistent and timely notice of job openings and promotional opportunities, requires managers to give permission to an employee to apply for any promotion, and fails to prevent sexual harassment targeted at female employees by male managers. Lastly, the plaintiffs contend that the defendant selectively and disproportionally disciplines and punishes women for minor infractions and retaliates against females who seek relief through human resources.

The defendant moved to dismiss the Complaint but the Court rejected this motion.

In August 2010 the Court approved a settlement of the matter. Plaintiffs got over $15 million in damages; their counsel was awarded over $4.5 million for the settlement. In addition, the settlement included injunctive terms.

Matthew Aibel - 05/06/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Defendant-type
Retailer
Discrimination-area
Discipline
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Training
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Race, unspecified
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC
Plaintiff Description All female sales force employees employed by Sanofi-Aventis in the United States for at least one day between May 12, 2005 to March 23, 2010, excluding individuals who held management level positions higher than district sales manager, excluding individuals who previously entered into individual releases as part of individual agreements with sanofi-aventis up to August 3, 2010, and excluding individuals who opt out of the settlement on a timely basis.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2010 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:07−cv−02207 (S.D.N.Y.) 12/27/2011
EE-NY-0211-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Second Amended Complaint 01/31/2008
EE-NY-0211-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of law in support of defendant's motion to dismiss 02/29/2008
EE-NY-0211-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Amended Class Action Complaint 04/21/2008
EE-NY-0211-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 05/21/2008 (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0211-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement 12/24/2009
EE-NY-0211-0003.pdf | Detail
Order Prelimanarily Approving Settlement 03/23/2010 (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0211-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 08/05/2010 (2010 WL 3119374) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0211-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judgment 08/09/2010 (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0211-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Gorenstein, Gabriel W. (S.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
EE-NY-0211-9000
Koeltl, John George (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0211-0005 | EE-NY-0211-0006 | EE-NY-0211-0007 | EE-NY-0211-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chahbazi, Meenoo (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0211-0001 | EE-NY-0211-0004 | EE-NY-0211-9000
Heisler, Jeremy (New York)
EE-NY-0211-0001 | EE-NY-0211-0004 | EE-NY-0211-9000
Morris, Grant E. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0211-0001 | EE-NY-0211-0003 | EE-NY-0211-0004 | EE-NY-0211-9000
Sanford, David W. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0211-0001 | EE-NY-0211-0003 | EE-NY-0211-0004 | EE-NY-0211-9000
Walsh, Kristen (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0211-9000
Wittels, Steven Lance (New York)
EE-NY-0211-0001 | EE-NY-0211-0003 | EE-NY-0211-0004 | EE-NY-0211-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Banks, Michael L. (Pennsylvania)
EE-NY-0211-0002 | EE-NY-0211-9000
Battaglia, Leni Dylan (New York)
EE-NY-0211-9000
Burkhardt, Michael S. (Pennsylvania)
EE-NY-0211-0002 | EE-NY-0211-0003 | EE-NY-0211-9000
Lee, W. John (Pennsylvania)
EE-NY-0211-9000
Pontoski, Sarah E. (Pennsylvania)
EE-NY-0211-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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