J&J settles gender discrimination and retaliation allegations involving former CEO and R&D head
J&J has settled a case with a former employee who accused top execs — including former CEO Alex Gorsky and former R&D head Mathai Mammen — of gender discrimination and retaliation leading up to her eventual termination after 25 years with the pharma giant.
The case was dismissed with prejudice on Aug. 8, after the dispute had been “amicably resolved,” according to court documents released a week ago. J&J has not responded to multiple requests for comment as of press time.
Although the settlement documents are dated the same day as the announcement of Mammen’s abrupt departure from J&J, the former exec says there’s “no relationship at all.”
“I decided to leave JNJ and transition out as I want to run my own company,” he said in a message to Endpoints News, though his next role remains unknown. In a LinkedIn post about his departure, Mammen said he believes “strongly in inclusiveness, and in the resulting diversity of teams.”
Gina Bilotti filed suit against J&J back in December 2020. Over her 25-year career, she rose through supply chain, commercial and R&D to vice president roles. However, Bilotti said in her complaint that “everything changed” when she began reporting to two newly placed execs at the time: current CFO Darren Snellgrove and Mammen.
Bilotti accused Snellgrove of treating her in a “sexist, harassing and demeaning way,” allegedly making remarks such as “Did I tell you you could talk?” and “Obviously I need to explain this to you in words you will be able to understand.”
When she complained to management about the “old boys club” culture, Bilotti alleges that execs ostracized her, and participated in and condoned in retaliation, including her removal from departments and management committees, budget reductions and a “bogus and malicious audit of her expenses” days after she complained to then-CEO Gorsky.
“The retaliatory abuse and betrayal left Plaintiff physically and emotionally ill, and without a career,” the complaint states.
Gorsky announced last August that he would hand the reins to Joaquin Duato as he stepped aside into the executive chairman role, where he currently serves.
Bilotti also accused Mammen, who vacated his role as R&D chief last month, of making “a number of inappropriate comments to her” and “systematically replacing senior female executives with white males thus creating and fostering an environment where gender discrimination at the highest levels of R&D could thrive,” according to the complaint.
“One should be judged by one’s contributions, and nothing else. I also believe strongly in collaboration within companies and across the ecosystem of companies, institutions, academia and government. We are all in this together,” Mammen wrote in the LinkedIn post about his departure.
Bilotti claims she was wrongfully terminated in 2020. Her attorney has not responded to a request for comment.