The latter wound up getting tossed by the U.S. Supreme Court on the lack of commonality in the class.The majority of SCOTUS Justices argued that the organization was decentralized at the level of the store. Therefore managers couldn't have colluded to create policies which were biased against female employees. Mini versions of it on the state level were also a no-go.
In "Smith v. Merck," the 400 female plaintiffs contend unequal pay and gender bias. What they claim is familiar. Everything from lower pay to being forced out when pregnant or mothers.
They are being represented in this $250 million lawsuit by employment-law powerhouse Sanford Heisler. That should make Merck very afraid. Here is the coverage by Sy Mukherjee in Fortune.
Last April, a federal judge in New Jersey had given a preliminary okay to the class-action status. That means the litigation has passed a major hurdle.
If this particular lawsuit catches fire in the media, Merck's brand equity could diminish. This is the era of leaning in. The court of public opinion is tilted toward females who claim bad treatment in the workplace.
Just look at how Fox former anchor, Gretchen Carlson, brought down the House of Ailes in just a bit over a month. She filed a lawsuit for alleged sexual harassment. Today, Roger Ailes resigned as head of Fox News.