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Case Name Wellens v. Daiichi Sankyo EE-CA-0349
Docket / Court 4:13-cv-00581 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Case Summary
On February 11, 2013, a class of current and former female sales employees filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, the California Equal Pay Act, the California Fair Employment and Housing ... read more >
On February 11, 2013, a class of current and former female sales employees filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, the California Equal Pay Act, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, and the California Business and Professions Code against pharmaceutical manufacturer Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. ("DSI"). Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed disparate impact in pay, benefits and promotional opportunities as well as discrimination for pregnancy and family responsibilities. The class, represented by private counsel, asked the court for permanent injunctive relief, the implementation of programs that provide equal employment opportunities for female employees, and damages for gender discrimination in employment.

On April 12, 2013, the defendant moved to transfer venue to the District of New Jersey where its corporate headquarters was located, arguing that since key evidence and witnesses were located there, it would serve the interests of convenience and efficiency. On June 25, 2013, the Court (Judge Claudia Wilken) denied the defendant's motion, stating that it failed "to meet its burden of establishing that the balance of inconvenience weighs heavily in favor of transfer." 2013 WL 3242294.

On May 15, 2014, the Court granted plaintiff's April 28, 2015 motion for conditional certification of class. The court defined the class as:

“Current, former, and future female sales employees in a sales representative and first level district manager role…who worked at any time in Defendant's sales organization in the United States during the applicable liability period.” 2014 WL 2126877.

The parties reached a settlement agreement on October 16, 2015. The classes were settled as:

California Settlement Class:
All female sales force employees who were or would be employed in a sales representative and/or first level district manager role…in DSI's sales organization in California for at least one day between April 16, 2011 and October 16, 2015.

Non–California Settlement Class:
All female sales force employees who were or would be employed in a sales representative and/or first level district manager role…in DSI's sales organization in the United States for at least one day between April 16, 2011 and October 16, 2015.

The plaintiffs agreed to dismiss the action and defendants agreed to make available a settlement fund of $8,200,000. $200,000 of that fund was set aside in order to implement changes to defendant’s employment policies and practices, $4,600,000 was paid into an interest-bearing class settlement fund, and the remaining $3,600,000 was used to reimburse costs and expenses of the litigation, pay class counsel's fees as awarded by the Court, pay service payments to class representatives and lawsuit participants, and pay for the administration of the settlement process.

The interest-bearing class settlement fund was separated into two components. The core component consisted of $3,700,000 that was to be divided among all named plaintiffs and class members for back pay related to the claims asserted in the case. The calculation of individual shares was based on the total workweeks of all class members during the damages periods and workweeks worked by each class member. The claim form component consisting of $926,200 was proportionately divided among named plaintiffs and class members who submit a claim form for alleged gender, pregnancy, and caregiver discrimination related to denial of promotion to District Manager, harassment, retaliation, or emotional distress damages.

In addition to the $8,200,000, the defendant agreed to programmatic relief which included: (1) providing all employees with written or electronic communication of commitment to equal employment opportunities and copies or links to policies addressing non-discrimination, anti-harassment, and anti-retaliation; (2) retaining an independent HR consultant to review its policies and practices and enhance its policies and practices in relation to the issues raised in this lawsuit; (3) posting all District Manager positions with clear posting of the requirements and qualifications for the role; (4) continuing to support the Women's Forum and continue to maintain DSI's mentoring program, including providing the opportunity for the Women's Forum to meet with the HR consultant for at least two hours; (5) working with the HR consultant to develop a training module that will provide guidance to all employees on the appropriate way to treat new mothers returning to work, and create a brief hand-out informing returning mothers of their rights and appropriate procedure to follow if they feel those rights have been violated; (6) establishing an internal compliance panel of senior executives from the HR and Legal departments to meet semi-annually to review compliance with the above requires; and (7) providing certification to class counsel every six months for two years from October 16, 2015 detailing what programmatic changes were actually done. 2015 WL 10090564.

The settlement was finally approved, and the action was dismissed, on February 11, 2016.

The court maintained jurisdiction over the case. There has been no action on the docket since July 12, 2016.

Christianna Kyriacou - 11/21/2013
Cade Boland - 10/29/2017


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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
Monitoring
Provide antidiscrimination training
Reporting
Training
Discrimination-area
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Pregnancy discrimination
Sex discrimination
EEOC-centric
No EEOC Final Resolution Type
General
Disparate Impact
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)
State law
Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.
Plaintiff Description women discouraged from having children
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Unknown
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 2015 - 2017
Case Closing Year 2016
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  Microsoft Gender Discrimination Class Action Lawsuit
Date: Oct. 14, 2016
By: Outten & Golden
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Age Discrimination Class Action seeks Fair Employment for Older PwC Applicants
http://www.pwcagecase.com/
Date: Apr. 27, 2016
By: Outten & Golden
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Smith Barney Gender Discrimination
https://www.lieffcabraser.com/employment/smith-barney/
Date: August 2008
By: Outten & Golden
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Date: Mar. 1, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law Faculty)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
Date: Apr. 1, 2001
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School Faculty)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:13-cv-00581-WHO (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0349-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/12/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class and Collective Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
EE-CA-0349-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/11/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Motion to Transfer Venue [ECF# 23]
EE-CA-0349-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/12/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Defendant's Motion to Transfer Venue [ECF# 42] (2013 WL 3242294) (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0349-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/25/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 126] (2014 WL 2126877) (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0349-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/22/2014
Source: Westlaw
Order [ECF# 181] (2015 WL 10090564) (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0349-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/16/2015
Source: Westlaw
Judges Orrick, William Horsley Jr. (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0349-0004 | EE-CA-0349-0005 | EE-CA-0349-9000
Wilkin, Claudia Court not on record
EE-CA-0349-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chukwu, Chioma Ifeyinwa (California)
EE-CA-0349-9000
Medina, Felicia Maria (California)
EE-CA-0349-0001 | EE-CA-0349-9000
Wipper, Janette L. (California)
EE-CA-0349-0001 | EE-CA-0349-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Alamuddin, Sari M. (Illinois)
EE-CA-0349-0002 | EE-CA-0349-9000
Borovicka, Megan Barry (California)
EE-CA-0349-0002 | EE-CA-0349-9000
Fitzpatrick, Alice Klair (Pennsylvania)
EE-CA-0349-9000
Powers, Allison Nugent (Illinois)
EE-CA-0349-9000
Robinson, Blair J. (Pennsylvania)
EE-CA-0349-0002 | EE-CA-0349-9000
Stohner, George Alan (California)
EE-CA-0349-0002 | EE-CA-0349-9000
Willard, Alison Bowman (California)
EE-CA-0349-9000

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