EEOC Sues Two Big Pharma Companies for Age Discrimination
Faced with hostile federal judges, the EEOC has virtually ignored epidemic age discrimination for years. But the companies wouldn't settle.
The EEOC this week filed a national age discrimination lawsuit against Lilly USA, LLC, after having earlier sued the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk for age discrimination.
The Lilly lawsuit alleges the company, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, IN, intentionally failed to hire older pharmaceutical sales representatives from 2017 to 2021.
Lilly’s Senior Vice President for Human Resources and Diversity, Steve Fry, allegedly expressed concern that Lilly’s workforce skewed older at a Leadership Town Hall in 2017.
According to the EEOC, Fry suggested the lack of Millennials at Lilly was a problem and Lilly has “got to make sure that we have a workforce that is distributed… by generation.”
Lilly allegedly adopted a goal of 40% “Early Career” hiring.
The EEOC says Lilly then established a higher level of review for older candidates for certain sales representative positions and “intentionally under-hired” older applicants. The EEOC says Lilly persisted even after managers recognized the hiring policy constituted unlawful age discrimination.
EEOC filed the case after Lilly refused to settle.
In its statement announcing the lawsuit, the EEOC refers to a “recent study” by the AARP showing that nearly 80% of older workers have seen or experienced age discrimination. In fact, it’s been known for years that age discrimination epidemic. The 2019 Hiscox Ageism in the Workplace Study reported that 80% of older workers said their career trajectory was impacted by their age and 62% of middle-managers or higher said age may prevent them from getting a new job after job loss.
Meanwhile, the EEOC in July filed an age discrimination lawsuit against Novo Nordisk, a pharmaceutical company based in Plainsboro, NJ, that manufactures insulin and diabetes care products.
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