Territory Manager Sues Abbott Laboratories for Sex Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation, Breach of Contract and Defamation
Georgann Gillund, a successful Territory Manager for Abbott Laboratories for over eight years, has sued the company in Ramsey County alleging sexual harassment, discrimination based on gender and age, retaliation, breach of contract and defamation. She is represented by Lead Counsel Larry Schaefer at Schaefer Halleen, LLC, a Minneapolis-based Firm recognized nationally for its expertise in this field.
According to Larry Schaefer, Ms. Gillund’s legal claims stem from her termination and the illegal treatment she was subjected to for years before this termination. Ms. Gillund alleges that Abbott leadership created a workplace culture favoring younger males, subjecting female employees to dramatically worse treatment, which Ms. Gillund complained about for years before her March 15, 2021 termination. Instead of taking action in response to her complaints, Abbott leadership fired Ms. Gillund for allegedly not responding favorably to prior coaching, despite her tremendous success in her sales duties.
The Complaint alleges that despite being subjected to overtly biased employment practices and facing threats and retaliation every time she complained, Ms. Gillund was a tremendously successful Territory Manager for Abbott throughout her tenure. She regularly vastly exceeded her annual sales quota at Abbott, achieving many years of “President’s Club” recognition (limited to the top ten Territory Managers at Abbott), and being recognized as the “Territory Manager of the Year” in 2017. According to the Complaint, this began to change starting in 2019 when Ms. Gillund complained, and escalated these complaints over the ensuing years, to her immediate supervisor Regional Director Scott Cairns and his boss, Area Vice President Todd Woodson, as well as to the Abbott HR and Legal leadership.
These complaints alleged that Ms. Gillund’s Territory and accounts were being taken from her and assigned to lesser performing younger male Territory Managers, and that Mr. Cairns and others were frequently making disparaging statements about her and women in general, expressing a strong preference to hire and develop male Territory Managers. Abbott leadership took no corrective action based on these complaints, but instead began to subject Ms. Gillund to increased scrutiny, a sham investigation of her, and escalated the adverse treatment of her, culminating in her baseless termination.
“Ms. Gillund’s allegations go far beyond just her individual treatment at Abbott. We intend to expose a culture, created and condoned at the highest leadership levels, which favors men over women, and which punishes women who raise complaints seeking what the law requires – equal employment opportunity,” states Larry Schaefer. “Many witnesses will step forward in this litigation to not only confirm the disgraceful and illegal treatment of my client, but offer ‘me-too’ testimony that they were subject to the same systemic gender bias and retaliation,” explains Schaefer.
“We intend to hold Abbot leadership fully accountable for the treatment of Ms. Gillund, culminating in her inexcusable termination. In this day and age, companies have to understand that gender and age bias, harassment, and retaliation are not just illegal, but terrible business practices,” asserts Schaefer. “Successful, hard working women like Ms. Gillund have earned the right to be treated commensurate with male peers, and to have their complaints taken very seriously. When this doesn’t happen, we all lose, and a company denigrates and devalues about half of its workforce, in addition to the individual women brave enough to complain,” explains Schaefer.