Age Discrimination Accusations at Shire

Age Discrimination Accusations at Shire

May 30th, 2013 // 3:52 pm @


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There are accusations at Shire Pharmaceuticals that the head of regenerative medicine was fooled into taking a promotion. Jeff Jonas is claiming in a new lawsuit that the biotech firm did not disclose that the unit he was moving to had dropping sales, and that there was a probe into the division about illegal marketing tactics. Also, a new Shire CEO was about to be named right after he started the job. Jonas says that if he had been informed of these facts, he would have taken another job offer.

The controversy started last year when Jonas went to ex-CEO Angus Russell about wanting to get a job with more responsibilities, as he was getting similar job offers in other places. So, he was given the job of president of regenerative medicine and moved to San Diego. He moved after he was assured that the position was totally secure under the new CEO and that his skills were badly needed in the new role. However, the new CEO, Flemming Ornskov started to move senior management around, and those over 40 were told that they were too far along in their careers to get promotions.

Jonas also claimed that he learned too late that DOJ was looking into his new unit, which was known as Advanced Biohealing, which was a firm that Shire bought in 2011. Its main product was Dermagraft, used for foot ulcers for diabetics. The feds were looking into dubious marketing practices in this division and were looking for $2 billion in penalties.

Jonas claims in the suit that he was promoted just to put a good face on a mess of a situation, rather than being given a new position where he could use his skills. He also claims that he heard that he was going to be fired and replaced during the age related management switches. After he raised concerns about this, he says that he was demoted and put on leave. He says that these changes ruined his reputation inside and outside the company and that this was wrongful termination.

As of today, the lawsuit has been dismissed by a federal judge over various jurisdictional issues, but he gave Jonas until next week to file an amended lawsuit.

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