Synthetic Genomics facing gender discrimination lawsuit

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A former employee at La Jolla, Calif.-based Synthetic Genomics is suing the company for alleged gender discrimination against her and other female employees, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Former lawyer Teresa Spehar, PhD, filed the lawsuit Sept. 7 after being fired from her post as the company's vice president of intellectual property. The complaint alleges Dr. Spehar and other women received less pay than male employees, less frequent promotions, exclusion from meetings and were "challenged or denigrated with gender-based stereotypes."

As of 2 p.m. PT Sept. 19, Synthetic Genomics had not been served with the lawsuit, which the company said it plans to fight.

"While I cannot specifically comment on ongoing litigation, what I can tell you is I passionately believe it is without merit and we will vigorously defend the claims made in the lawsuit," Synthetic Genomics CEO Oliver Fetzer, PhD, said in an emailed response to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

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