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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 pay, front pay, and compensatory, nominal, and punitive damages. The plaintiffs alleged 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 alleged that the defendant subjected female employees to a continuing systemic discrimination that 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
- fails to prevent sexual harassment targeted at female employees by male managers; and
- selectively and disproportionally disciplines and punishes women for minor infractions
- retaliates against females who seek relief through human resources
On February 29, 2008, the defendant moved to dismiss the complaint, but the Court rejected this motion. Between February 2008 and November 2009, the parties engaged in discovery.

On November 16, 2009, the parties submitted a stipulation informing the court that the action was settled and the parties were in the process of preparing class action settlement agreement.

On August 5, 2010, the Court approved the settlement agreement. Plaintiffs received over $15 million in damages and their counsel was awarded over $4.5 million for the settlement. The settlement also included injunctive terms for the defendant to develop non-discrimination, anti-harassment, and anti-retaliation policies that ensure its female employees enjoy equal terms and conditions of employment comparable to their male counterparts. These policies were to include:
- prohibiting discrimination based on gender or marital status;
- prohibiting harassment and retaliation that result from employees' reporting of gender discrimination; and
- improving policies on pay and promotions
The settlement was to last three years, or until 2013. The case is now closed.

Matthew Aibel - 05/06/2008
Lisa Koo - 03/16/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Utilize objective hiring/promotion criteria
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.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
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 - 2013
Filing Year 2007
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
1:07−cv−02207 (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0211-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/04/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 16]
EE-NY-0211-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/31/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of law in support of defendant's motion to dismiss [ECF# 19]
EE-NY-0211-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/29/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 32]
EE-NY-0211-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/21/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 34] (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0211-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/21/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement
EE-NY-0211-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/24/2009
Order Prelimanarily Approving Settlement [ECF# 74] (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0211-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/23/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order (2010 WL 3119374) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0211-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/05/2010
Source: Westlaw
Judgment [ECF# 83] (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0211-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/09/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Gorenstein, Gabriel W. (S.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0211-9000
Koeltl, John George (S.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0211-0005 | EE-NY-0211-0006 | EE-NY-0211-0007 | EE-NY-0211-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chahbazi, Meenoo (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0211-0001 | EE-NY-0211-0004 | EE-NY-0211-9000
Heisler, Jeremy (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0211-0001 | EE-NY-0211-0004 | EE-NY-0211-9000
Morris, Grant E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0211-0001 | EE-NY-0211-0003 | EE-NY-0211-0004 | EE-NY-0211-9000
Sanford, David W. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0211-0001 | EE-NY-0211-0003 | EE-NY-0211-0004 | EE-NY-0211-9000
Walsh, Kristen (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0211-9000
Wittels, Steven Lance (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0211-0001 | EE-NY-0211-0003 | EE-NY-0211-0004 | EE-NY-0211-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Banks, Michael L. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0211-0002 | EE-NY-0211-9000
Battaglia, Leni Dylan (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0211-9000
Burkhardt, Michael S. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0211-0002 | EE-NY-0211-0003 | EE-NY-0211-9000
Lee, W. John (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0211-9000
Pontoski, Sarah E. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0211-9000

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