Woman claims sexual orientation and racial profile caused her to lose job

Kelly Holleran Oct. 19, 2012, 5:00am


A woman claims her sexual orientation and racial profile caused her to lose her job as a sales representative for a high profile medical company.

Shari Terada claims she was working for defendant Eli Lilly and Company from 2000 until she was discharged on Dec. 15, 2011.

Before her termination, Terada, a self-proclaimed gay, Japanese woman over the age of 40, had reported improper calls placed by her co-workers to doctors concerning sales of diabetic products, according to the complaint filed Sept. 5 in St. Clair County Circuit Court. The sales people were ethically required to make in-person contact instead of phone calls so that physicians were aware of the proper use of the products, the suit states.

"Said failure to have this personal contact violated a clearly mandated public policy as set forth by the Corporate Integrity Agreement entered into between the Defendant and the United States via the Office of the Inspector General," the complaint says. "The plaintiff had reported these violations between the months of May 2011 and through December 2011."

Also contributing to Terada's termination was the fact that a co-worker was allegedly making defamatory remarks about her, saying she promoted a medication for an off-label use, such as weight loss, Terada claims.

When Eli Lilly heard of the co-worker's accusations, it refused to investigate the statements and instead immediately fired Terada, the complaint says.

During her employment with Eli Lilly, Terada claims she was treated differently than her younger, straight co-workers and prohibited her from talking to other employees about discrimination.

Because of her job loss, Terada lost wages and benefits, experienced pain and suffering, lost her enjoyment of life and endured mental anguish and humiliation, according to the complaint.

In her four-count complaint, Terada is seeking a judgment of more than $50,000, compensatory damages of more than $100,000 and punitive damages of more than $100,000, plus costs and attorney's fees.

Thomas O. Falb of Williamson, Webster, Falb and Glisson in Alton will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-458.

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