EX-LOBBYIST SUES ELI LILLY FOR SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT
A former top lobbyist for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. accused a high-ranking executive and another senior manager of engaging in sexual discrimination, harassment, and retaliation against women in its Washington D.C. office, according to a lawsuit filed Friday, Dan Levine reported for Reuters.
The suit, filed in federal court by in-house lobbyist Sonya Elling, alleges that a Lilly senior vice president, Leigh Ann Pusey, repeatedly demeaned Elling and other women, and eventually forced Elling to resign.
Elling’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for lost pay and alleged reputational and emotional harm. Pusey, senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications, was one of Chief Executive Officer Dave Ricks’s first appointments upon taking the role in 2017.
Eli Lilly is the only named defendant in the suit. Pusey did not respond to requests for comment. A Lilly spokeswoman denied the allegations in the suit. “Lilly is committed to fostering and promoting a culture of diversity and respect, and a work environment free of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation of any kind,” the spokeswoman, Kathryn Beiser, said.
“We hold all employees accountable to our core values and believe our executives carry an even higher burden in ensuring those values are upheld.”
The lawsuit comes as other allegations of inappropriate or retaliatory actions by Lilly executives against employees at Lilly have surfaced.
Last month, Lilly announced that the company’s chief financial officer, Josh Smiley, resigned after Lilly said in a securities filing that he had engaged in “consensual though inappropriate personal communications” with employees.
Smiley declined to comment. Reuters reported earlier this month that a former Lilly human resources manager alleged she had been forced out of her job because she repeatedly raised concerns with executives about manufacturing problems at a New Jersey factory. Lilly told Reuters it has rigorous quality assurance programs in place and welcomes employee feedback.