Lawsuit alleges Abbott wrongly fired Black woman, promoted white men
An attorney for a former worker for Abbott Laboratories on Tuesday argued in a federal trial that the pharmaceutical giant specifically targeted Black workers in a layoff that led to her firing -- and that white men who ran the company were more comfortable with helping white men succeed at the company.
Jacinta "Jay" Downing, the former Midwest sales region manager for the North Shore company, was denied promotions and retaliated against even before the reshuffling that led to her ouster in 2015, her lawyer said in closing arguments in the case.
Abbott's attorneys argued Downing's suit was a sham and that there was no retaliation on Abbott's part for her claims of gender and race discrimination. Instead, they claim the 2015 reduction in force affected 20 managers at the company, whose races and genders varied. The layoffs, they said, were made because the business wasn't performing well financially.
The jury began deliberating Wednesday morning.
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