Fired Johnson & Johnson Exec Claims 'Culture Of Discrimination'


The health care giant Johnson & Johnson is a regular fixture on best place to work lists, as well as Diversity Inc.'s Top Companies for Diversity. But one former executive has filed an explosive lawsuit, claiming she was denied a promotion because she is African-American, and then fired for speaking out against "a corporate culture of discrimination."

Francine Parham was a vice president of human resources at Johnson & Johnson (its board of directors pictured above), the company behind everything from Band-Aids to Tylenol, Nicorette gum to Neutrogena. According to her lawsuit, Parham -- hired in 2004 and promoted twice --was always bothered by the lack of minorities in the upper ranks of the company. The suit, filed June 21, said:

"During plaintiff's employment with defendant, as part of her HR duties she had numerous conversations with a number of minority employees, who told plaintiff they were seeking other employment because defendant's corporate culture of discrimination had 'dead-ended' their careers."

Many, the suit states, left the company as a result, creating what her colleagues called the "leaky bucket syndrome."