Novartis' $1B Glass Ceiling

Cristen Conger

Pharmaceutical company Novartis learned just how much a glass ceiling in the workplace can cost. Ballpark: $1 billion.

A New York City jury just found Novartis guilty of sex discrimination in a lawsuit brought by 12 female employees. According to BusinessWeek "The women allege that Novartis had disrespected its female workers by paying them less than men, promoting fewer of them and allowing a hostile workplace dominated by an old boys' network to flourish."

The court has awarded the plaintiffs $250 million in punitive damages, but the payout might not end there. Forbes reports that the damages could run as high as $1 billion to rectify the gender pay gap for the 5,600 current and former Novartis female employees covered by the ruling.

This comes on the heels of a Rasmussen Report survey that found 70 percent of American adults believe women are in a better place than they were 25 years ago - except in the wage arena. In fact, 61 percent of respondents, both male and female, believe equal gender pay exists. Here's hoping the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act works overtime in the next few years to close the 20 percent pay gap between men and women's median earnings.

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