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Eli Lilly resolves lobbyist’s sex discrimination lawsuit

Stock Markets10 minutes ago (Jun 29, 2021 03:01PM ET)

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An Eli Lilly and Company pharmaceutical manufacturing plant is pictured at 50 ImClone Drive in Branchburg, New Jersey, March 5, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

By Dan Levine and Marisa Taylor

(Reuters) – Eli Lilly & Co (N:LLY) has resolved a lawsuit filed in March by a former top lobbyist who 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 court filing on Monday.

The suit, filed in federal court in Washington by in-house lobbyist Sonya Elling alleged that a Lilly senior vice president, Leigh Ann Pusey, repeatedly demeaned Elling and other women, and eventually forced Elling to resign

Pusey, senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications, was one of Chief Executive Officer Dave Ricks’s first appointments upon taking the helm of the drugmaker in 2017.

Lilly previously has denied the allegations against Pusey. A Lilly spokesperson on Tuesday declined to comment. Pusey could not be reached.

As part of the resolution, Elling agreed to dismiss the lawsuit, according to a court filing on Monday. The issues were not aired in court, and the terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

“We’ve resolved things amicably,” Elling’s attorney Lynne Bernabei told Reuters on Tuesday.

The lawsuit came as other allegations of inappropriate or retaliatory actions by Lilly executives against employees surfaced.

In February, Lilly announced that the company’s chief financial officer, Josh Smiley, resigned Lilly said in a February 9 securities filing that Smiley had engaged in “consensual though inappropriate personal communications” with employees. Smiley has declined to comment.

Reuters reported in March that a former Lilly human resources officer complained in a legal demand letter that she had been forced out of her job at a New Jersey factory after launching internal investigations alleging various manufacturing lapses. She has not filed a lawsuit against the company.

Lilly has said it encourages individuals to report concerns without fear of retribution.

Elling’s lawsuit alleged that she and other women were subjected to sexist comments by Pusey and another senior manager, including that they were “nasty,” “bitches,” “disruptive,” “aggressive,” and “rude.”

In 2018, according to the suit, another woman lobbyist at Lilly filed an internal complaint against Pusey, alleging that she had created a hostile workplace and made several offensive comments about Elling and others. Elling corroborated the claims, which a Lilly investigation found to have merit, the lawsuit said.

After that, the lawsuit said, Pusey began to exclude Elling and others who participated in the investigation from briefings of senior leaders and ultimately forced her to resign.

Eli Lilly resolves lobbyist’s sex discrimination lawsuit

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