The 7 largest sex discrimination lawsuits cost the accused organizations and companies at least $50 million in lawsuit settlement payments and judgments for monetary damages.
The organizations sued for sex discrimination in 2013 include a leading law firm, an investment bank, a hospital, a leading shipment/logistics company, a city police department, and a city fire department.
Here are the biggest six discrimination lawsuits that were concluded in 2013:
- The law firm Greenberg Traurig was sued for $200 million by a class of hundreds of female employees who alleged they were subjected to sex discrimination by the firm. Greenberg Traurig CEO Richard Rosenbaum, who makes all employment and compensation decisions for the firm, allegedly called the female partners in the firm’s Philadelphia “worthless.” Attorneys representing the plaintiffs claim that the firm’s male management justified paying male shareholders more than their female counterparts because certain male shareholders “needed the money” more than female shareholders because the men “had families to support.” In May 2013, Greenberg Traurig agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to settle the lawsuit.
- In September 2013, Bank of America agreed to pay $39 million to settle a class action sex discrimination lawsuit that was filed against its Merrill Lynch division. The plaintiffs, who represented a class of around 4,800 women who worked at Merrill Lynch from August 2007 until September 2013, claim that women were not given the same compensation and business opportunities as their male counterparts.
- The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center agreed to pay its female anesthesia department head $7 million to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit that she had filed against the Boston-based hospital. Dr. Carol Warfield claims that former surgery chief Dr. Josef Fischer discriminated against her by blatantly ignoring her during meetings and lobbying for her to be removed from her position. When Dr. Warfield complained to the then CEO Paul Levy about the alleged discrimination, she claims both men retaliated against her and forced her out.
- The City of Chicago agreed in September 2013 to pay almost $2 million to a class of at least several dozen women to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit. The plaintiffs claim that 187 women who passed a written test to become firefighters were discriminated against by an unfair physical fitness test that was subsequently dropped as a requirement to become a Chicago firefighter. A city official said that 90% of the men who took the test passed it, while only 19% of the women passed the test. The test has been replaced with another type of test that has been approved by the Department of Justice and that is used by hundreds of fire departments across the country.
- In February 2013, a federal court jury in Texas awarded a $600,000 verdict against United Parcel Service in a sex discrimination lawsuit that was filed by a former female UPS driver. The woman claims that she was fired after a relatively minor traffic accident while her male counterparts were not fired after having been in much worse traffic accidents. She also claims that UPS managers gave her more packages to deliver than her male counterparts and that she and other female employees were subjected to a hostile work environment that included repeated insults and harassment based on their gender.
- A federal jury in Missouri awarded a former Steele police officer $345,000 after finding that she had been discriminated against because of her gender. The police officer claims that she was passed over for a promotion of Chief of Police and that she was subjected to gender-based harassment and a hostile work environment.
- The South Carolina City of Greensboro agreed to pay a female police officer $180,000 and to promote her to Captain in order to settle her sex discrimination lawsuit. The police officer claims that she started working for a captain in December 2007 who treated her in an “extremely condescending manner” because of her gender. The captain allegedly “engaged in lengthy verbal tirades and diatribes” against her, sent “demeaning emails” and wrote an “untrue, unfair and extremely demeaning” evaluation.