Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against Toshiba
A senior human resources manager with Toshiba Corp of Japan has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Toshiba America — its US division — for gender discrimination against women in pay and promotions.
Elaine Cyphers, the plaintiff in the 100 million dollar lawsuit, argues that Toshiba America pays women lower salaries and bonuses than men who perform the same duties. She alleges the company places women into lower-grade positions and also promotes men more favorably.
Despite Toshiba’s creation of “Gender Equality Office” six years ago, less than 4 percent of the company’s 6,273 managers worldwide are women, according to the complaint. Cyphers said this is an “astounding lack of women in leadership” roles.
David Sanford, a partner with Sanford Wittels & Heisler LLP, called the figures “atrocious” in an interview with Reuters. “We believe the class claims are significant, and will be substantiated in the litigation.”
Cyphers said she has been human resources manager at Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corp and their highest-ranking US human resources employee at that plant. She claims she was paid $90,000 to $91,800 a year between 2008 and 2010, while men in similar jobs at the plant earned $120,000 a year.
The lawsuit seeks class-action status for all current and former Toshiba female employees in the US. Cyphers said she also filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The suit follows claims from women in other companies that are being mistreated by their employers and have ended up in court.
Last July, Novartis AG agreed to a $175 million settlement after the Swiss drug maker was accused of discriminating against 5,600 women sales reps in pay and promotions.
And Wal-Mart Stores Inc is also locked in a class-action gender bias lawsuit, the largest in US history, brought on by as many as 1.5 million current and former female employees.
Cyphers said she has worked in human resources for 25 years before Toshiba hired her in June 2008. She claimed that Toshiba promoted a less experienced man to a new position above her and later sought to force her from the company in retaliation for complaints about discrimination.
After Cyphers returned to work from medical leave, a supervisor told her to leave and not come back “until further notice,” so she “promptly collected her belongings” and left, the complaint said.
Cyphers is still “technically” a Toshiba employee but is on leave, her attorney told Reuters.
The case is Cyphers v. Toshiba America Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-00642.
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