A Montgomery County man is suing Teva Pharmaceuticals over claims that the generic
drug manufacturer discriminated against him on the basis of his race.
Ambler resident Scott Ellis, who is black, and was first hired by Teva in April 2010 as an associate director of new products for Teva Respiratory, alleges that beginning in the summer of 2011, the defendant began discriminating against the plaintiff and subjecting him to a hostile work environment based on his ethnicity.
The discriminatory treatment allegedly began after the plaintiff was put under the supervision of a new manager, a white supervisor who was promoted following the departure of an African American manager.
Soon after the change in leadership, the suit states, the company began discriminating against Ellis in a number of ways, including keeping the plaintiff out of the communications loop regarding brand activities, demoting Ellis and reducing his job responsibilities for “no legitimate reason,” cutting the plaintiff’s budget more severely than the budgets of those Teva groups run by white colleagues, and undermining the plaintiff’s team leadership role by seeking direct input from Ellis’s subordinates without the plaintiff’s knowledge.
The complaint alleges that the defendant also failed to promote Ellis into positions for which he was qualified, permitted business associates and employees to make racist jokes and comments in Ellis’s presence without taking any disciplinary action, and failing to acknowledge Ellis’s professional achievements and industry awards while simultaneously publishing the achievements of non-black employees.
Ellis also claims that he was turned down for the then-newly created position of director of marketing for the QNASL brand, instead being informed that the company was planning to hire someone from outside.
When asked why he was being passed over for the job, Ellis claims he was never given a specific reason, but was assured that it had nothing to do with his job performance.
The outside hire who was brought aboard is white.
The suit goes on to claim that Ellis was, for all intents and purposes, demoted after he was reassigned to the consumer marketing group for QNASL, an assignment that constituted lesser responsibility, prestige and visibility than his prior assignment.
In late August 2011, the complaint states, Ellis received a performance evaluation that the plaintiff claims contained false and inaccurate statements and “unsubstantiated, unjustified, [and] subjective criticisms that hadn’t previously been raised with Ellis during the performance year.
The performance evaluation, the suit states, was a “blatant attempt to create a post-facto and pretextual justification for Defendant’s race based decision not to promote Plaintiff and to demote him.”
Both the plaintiff’s salary and promotional opportunities were negatively impacted by the performance rating, the lawsuit says.
The complaint goes on to say that since November 2012, Ellis has applied for at least seven different open positions for which he is qualified, none of which he has been selected for.
Teva is accused of violating the Civil Rights Act.
Ellis seeks declaratory judgment, in addition to unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and costs.
Ellis is being represented by Philadelphia attorneys Marjory P. Albee, Stephen Console and Anna Oppenheim of Console Law Offices.
While the suit was filed in early July at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, attorneys representing Teva filed a removal notice this week seeking to transfer the litigation to U.S. District Court because it accuses the defendant of violating the federal Civil Rights Act.
Teva is being represented by attorneys from the King of Prussia, Pa. law firm of Stevens & Lee.
The state case ID number is 130502562 and the federal case number is 2:13-cv-04409-RK.