Life, Love, and Dirty Diapers

Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Sued

A lawsuit was filed in New Jersey against Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals for discrimination against women, working mothers in particular. They were able to make it a class action lawsuit to include more groups of women in the company as well.

Complaints:

  • Women are paid less. (Two women were documented as being paid $30,000 less than the men in comparable positions.)
  • Women are denied promotions.
  • It is a hostile work environment
  • Sexual harassment

Examples of a hostile work environment:

  • Company newsletter said men are better managers because they’re not prone to “backstabbing,” “indecision,” and “mood swings” like women are
  • Negative comments about women who needed to leave for child care or who went on maternity leave
  • “I need to stop hiring women of reproductive age.”
  • “I’m never hiring another woman over 40 again. They’re all crazy!”
  • “Women with power are ‘loose canons’ who often feel threatened by colleagues.”
  • “One morning in September 2010, the defendant (Cleve) Scott approached Ms. Santangelo while she was in the cafeteria. As she headed towards the elevator, he came up behind her, tapped her on the shoulder and said, ‘I’m going to join you for the ride.’ He then followed her into the elevator where the two of them were alone. During the elevator ride, Ms. Santangelo could see Defendant Scott eyeing her body and the oblong-shaped donut in her hand. When the elevator reached her floor, she told Defendant Scott to have a nice day. At that point, he grabbed her arm and whispered, ‘Not as nice of a day as if I could watch that whole donut slide down your throat.‘” She later explained this to a Manager who said “Why don’t you just stop taking the elevator?”
  • “I really like how you look on all fours.” – Male employee to female employee

The Women who are suing say:

  • “My pregnancy should have been a time of joy, laughter and happiness. But I was not able to enjoy that because of Bayer’s discrimination against me, and I will never be able to get that experience back. No company has the right to do that. Bayer does not respect the mothers who work for it; instead it rewards hard-working mothers and pregnant women with demotions, pay reductions, and denial of job opportunities. All of this from a company that is supposed to concern itself with women’s health.” – Vicky
  • “We and the other women at Bayer take our careers very seriously, and our income is important to our families. For years, we tried to overcome the prejudice and discrimination at Bayer by proving ourselves to be even better than required. When that didn’t work, we went to HR and Senior Management. Human Resources and Senior Management have failed us and Bayer’s female employees. It is our hope that through the court, we can make things better for women at the Company.” – Jennifer

Goals:

  • Back pay for the women
  • Damages to the tune of $100 million
  • Policy changes for Bayer so that women are treated fairer

Bayer’s Response:

Bayer is aware of the lawsuit filed today in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey alleging gender class discrimination by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Corporation. The company had previously received administrative complaints of discrimination from six current or former Wayne, New Jersey-based employees from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Bayer was prepared to cooperate fully with the Commission and respond to each of the discrimination charges, but the plaintiffs elected to terminate all six administrative proceedings and file the lawsuit without further investigation or findings by the Commission. Bayer denies the allegations of gender discrimination and will vigorously defend itself against these charges. Bayer will not comment further on pending litigation, other than to note that it is committed strongly to a policy of non-discrimination and equal treatment for all employees.

What are your thoughts on this? I’m not normally a super huge lawsuit fan, but I feel like they definitely have a case here. I mean that donut comment was way out of line. And that’s a big pay gap. So hopefully they will succeed. I mean, if this is what it takes for companies to realize that women deserve better, so be it. What are your thoughts?

Sources:

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Street Harassment – Another Blogger’s Thoughts On It

I like to share other bloggers work because I know how much time goes into creating a blog post. It’s also, frankly, because somebody said it better than me or somebody said it first. It’s also partially because I get a little bit of a break for having some new content – I’ll be honest.

That’s why I’m linking to this post.

Because I have been harassed in the street before. And I think she does an excellent job of what it makes you feel like. So have at the read and I hope, if you don’t already, that you have a better idea of the feelings behind street harassment.

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Schools Should Be Sexual Harassment Free

I stumbled upon this report a little while ago and I was kind of shocked and at the same time I was like, I think maybe I already knew this. But according to the End Violence Against Women Coalition, a third of girls face sexual harassment by their peers in school.

And a third, to me, is way too many. And I tend to feel that perhaps this is on the lower end of things, because the only way these things are usually measured through self-reporting. That and some people may not realize that what happened to them is sexual harassment.

But I think it’s a serious problem. It makes school a very uncomfortable place when you have to worry about that. If you’re uncomfortable and worried about it, you’re going to have a harder time focusing in class, which will probably lead to a harder time in school in general.

And I, unfortunately, have to say that I’ve experienced this. I was dancing one time at a school dance – not even provocatively – and these guys came up to me and tried to stuff dollar bills in my dress. I know some people might be flattered by that, but for me it made me really uncomfortable and made me rethink, a lot of times, whether or not I really wanted to go to the dances anymore.

So I think that definitely a push for ending sexual harassment in schools is really necessary to make a friendly and safe learning environment for everyone.

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Even Celebrities Get Molested, Date Raped, and Struggle with Infertility

Normally, I don’t pay much attention to celebrities, but I think that they can be useful in that in something can happen to them, it can sometimes lend more credibility to something happening to ordinary people. It’s been this way lately with mental disorders at least, when several celebrities have spoken up about having them.

But I think that this article about Kara DioGuardi talking about being molested, date raped, sexually harassed and now, more recently, struggling with infertility.

I think the most helpful that this could come out of as date rape being more accepted (that it exists, not that it should, but some people refuse to recognize it). I think that, unlike stranger rape, date rape is harder for people to accept. Often times, I think that people think that if you go on a date with someone and sex happens, it’s not a big deal. But it is a big deal. You have a right to say no, no matter if he paid for dinner or if you agreed to make out – you have a right to say no at any point.

I think that date rape is an important subject to talk about because unlike stranger rape, you may have to face that person. They may go to school with you or work with you. And I think you are more likely to think that you asked for it (even though no one asks to be raped, many people argue that you do ask for it).

Date rape is a serious subject and one that should be talked about way more than it is, because if memory serves me correctly, it’s more likely to happen than stranger rape. (Which is also equally as serious, but it’s what people tend to think about and sometimes forget that people do get raped by people that they know).

PS. This has nothing to do with this blog post, but I interviewed another blogger, Sarah, for a school project on Facebook and it’s on her blog. Check it out, Vitality 101 – 90 Days Without Facebook

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Street Harassment

While I was reading another blog, Stop Street Harassment , they turned me onto quote from Lara Logan, from the New York Times, “When women are harassed … they’re denied an equal place in that society. Public spaces don’t belong to them. Men control it. It reaffirms the oppressive role of men in the society.”

I think what she says has a lot of truth to it. I mean I know that I, as a woman, have feared walking on the streets before. I’ve been made to feel extremely uncomfortable in situations before. And in those situations, it is true, men are controlling it. Because I don’t feel like there’s anything I can do. I try to end the conversation, to walk away, but sometimes you can’t, when you’re waiting for a bus stop or you just don’t want to let them have anymore control than they already have.

Part of lifting up women means making everywhere a safe space for them so they don’t have to fear harassment. No one should have to fear harassment, plain and simple. We need to take back public spaces so that women are able to feel safe in them.

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Sexual Harassment – No Joking Matter

It seems to me like every time women start to succeed, they get held back. I think that while the United States might have evolved a lot in terms of women’s rights, we still have a long way to go. For one, women still have to fear sexual harassment. While it doesn’t seem like a big deal, it can make you really uncomfortable. I’ve experienced what could probably be known as mild sexual harassment at one of my last jobs and I can’t say that it made me feel very comfortable – in fact, I requested not to work with that person ever again. Fortunately, my boss respected my wishes.

However, not everyone’s bosses take them so seriously.

This broke the news a little bit ago, but I still think it’s important to talk about it.

Tameika Dorman, who used to be a producer for Black Entertainment Television (BET), claims to be fired after complaining about working with a cameraman who was sexually harassing her. After repeatedly watching her butt on camera, she asked him about it and he “grabbed and repeatedly rubbed his crotch, began to moan and said it was because he loved her butt, that she was sexy and that she did not know what he was going to do to her” (Source). She then complained and was told that said cameraman would be kept away from her. However, she was later made to work with him again, so she complained again and then was fired shortly. BET claims that they couldn’t back up her claims of sexual harassment, but at the same time didn’t interview someone who could have.

Now to me, in an ideal world, he should be the one being fired, not her. Why is it that time and time again, the man is protected while the woman is let go? Do companies think that men are better workers so they are more willing to protect them? Because if so, that is BS. Women can be just as good of workers as men. Is it easier to get rid of the woman than get rid of the man? I think they might see it that way. Is it because it is an inherently sexist system? I’m not sure of the answers, but I know that it needs to be fixed.

Sources:
NY Daily News
Courthouse NEws

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