Eli Lilly: Managing Workplace Diversity and Coping with the Accusations of Racial Discrimination

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : HROB105 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Managing workplace diversity/ Discrimination at the Workplace/ Equal Employment Opportunity
Case Length : 20 Pages
Period : 2006-2007
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Eli Lilly & Company
Industry : Pharmaceutical
Countries : USA


The case is about one of the world's leading pharmaceuticals company Eli Lilly & Company (Lilly). Lilly, which claims to have a very good diversity program running at the company and was also widely regarded as a very good employer, faced a federal lawsuit that raised some serious questions regarding the company's human rights policies and practices.

In April 2006, three former employees and one employee who was still working at Lilly then filed a case against the company alleging that the company discriminated against its African American employees on racial grounds.

The lawsuit claimed that the African American employees working at Lilly experienced disparity in wages, promotions, performance evaluations and discipline. By the end of 2007, more than a hundred former and present employees of Lilly joined forces with the plaintiffs against the company.

Lilly had, however, denied the allegations saying that discrimination against any individual or group was inconsistent with their long-held core values and employment philosophy. On the other hand, a section of the employees at Lilly felt that in order to promote diversity the company was going out of its way in hiring, grooming and promoting under-qualified minority employees at the cost of organizational effectiveness.


Understand the issues and challenges in promoting and managing workplace diversity.

Understand the issue of discrimination at the workplace.

Understand the communication challenges faced by companies in a multi-cultural workplace.

Understand the corporate communication challenges faced by companies facing allegations of workplace discrimination.


  Page No.
Another Distraction for Lilly 1
Background Note 2
Managing Workplace Diversity at Lilly 5
Welch et al vs. Eli Lilly & Company 6
Individual Claims 8
Lilly's Point of View 10
An Award that Raised Eyebrows 11
The Challenge 11
Exhibits 13

Key Words:

Workplace diversity, Diversity strategy, Discrimination , Workplace discrimination, Equal Employment opportunity, Diversity training, HR policy, Core values, Employment philosophy, Corporate communications, Ethics, Code of business conduct, Corporate citizenship, Training and Development, Multicultural, Employee benefits, Eli Lilly, Pharmaceutical

Another Distraction for Lilly - Next Page>>


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