Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. faces a proposed class action filed by an ex-employee who claims he was unlawfully discriminated against based on his race and paid on a bi-weekly basis instead of every week as required under New York law.
According to the nine-page lawsuit, other animal care technicians and aquatic animal care techs at the Tarrytown, New York biotechnology company were similarly paid on a bi-weekly schedule despite performing mostly manual labor.
“Defendant failed to pay Plaintiff and similarly situated persons … in the State of New York ‘on a weekly basis and not later than seven calendar days after the end of the week in which the wages are earned’ as required by New York Labor Law § 191,” the complaint alleges. “Instead, Defendant paid Plaintiff and similarly situated persons who have worked as Animal Care Technicians and Aquatic Animal Care Technicians on a bi-weekly basis pursuant to its payroll policy in violation of New York Labor Law § 191.”
The plaintiff, who is of Puerto Rican descent, says he was employed by the biotech firm as an hourly paid manual worker in the position of Animal Care Technician I from 2018 to May 2021. According to the suit, the plaintiff learned in November 2020 that he was being passed over for a promotion in favor of two Caucasian employees who were promoted from Animal Care Technician I to Animal Care Technician II. After the plaintiff complained to his supervisor that the defendant was discriminating against him on the basis of his race, his supervisor, the lawsuit alleges, retaliated against him for voicing his concerns about the allegedly discriminatory promotion by placing the man on a performance improvement plan. The plaintiff claims he was retaliated against even further when his employment was terminated in May 2021.
Per the case, the plaintiff has suffered the loss of his job, opportunity to work, wages and benefits as a result of Regeneron’s allegedly discriminatory actions, not to mention emotional harm, mental anguish, embarrassment and humiliation.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that the plaintiff and similarly situated employees should have been paid “on a weekly basis and not later than seven calendar days after the end of the week in which the wages are earned” given they spent more than 25 percent of their time performing physical tasks. According to the case, the workers’ duties included changing and cleaning cages, equipment, water bottles and food; unpacking and housing animals upon arrival; cleaning facility rooms and stocking supplies; performing preventative maintenance of animal facility equipment and supplies; and sanitizing equipment and the facility.
The suit looks to cover current and former employees of the defendant who worked as hourly paid animal care technicians and aquatic animal care technicians in New York within the past six years.
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