Eli Lilly Subsidiary Settles Age Discrimination Suit for $2.4 Million

Eli Lilly & Co. subsidiary, Lilly USA LLC, has agreed to pay $2.4 million to settle an age discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The suit alleged that the pharmaceutical company violated federal age bias law when it announced plans to hire more millennial workers, resulting in the rejection of applicants aged 40 and above for primary care sales representative positions between 2017 and 2021. The deal, if approved, will close the case filed against Lilly USA in September 2022.

Case background

According to the EEOC's complaint, the discrimination stemmed from a 2017 company leadership meeting, during which a senior vice president for human resources and diversity announced a hiring goal to create a more youthful workforce.

From April 2017 to 2021, Eli Lilly allegedly favored younger candidates and hired fewer older applicants. The older candidates faced higher levels of review and approval before receiving offers from the company. As part of the settlement, Lilly will pay the affected class of applicants, review and potentially revise its equal employment opportunity policies to ensure compliance with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The policies must prohibit age-based bias and provide avenues for reporting any behavior violating the company's policies.

Lilly's managers and human resources employees involved in hiring primary care sales representatives will also undergo equal employment opportunity training. The company will ensure that any third-party recruiters comply with anti-age bias policies.

Although Eli Lilly denies the allegations, it is working cooperatively with the EEOC to resolve the matter. The company has faced other lawsuits alleging bias against older workers, and it reached a settlement in a similar case in September 2022. Another lawsuit was filed in February 2023 by a 53-year-old sales worker who claimed to have been passed over for a managerial position in favor of a 27-year-old applicant due to the company's focus on hiring millennials.

If you’ve been the victim of age discrimination at work, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. To learn more about your options, contact a trusted whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group today.