A federal jury in Newark has returned a defense verdict in favor of Merck & Co. in a gender and pregnancy discrimination suit brought by a company executive who claimed she was fired for taking maternity leave.

The jury found that Kerri Colicchio failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Merck fired her in 2007 because of her gender or because of her 2006 pregnancy. The jury also found that Colicchio failed to demonstrate that she was passed over for a promotion because of her gender or her pregnancy. The jury also said Colicchio failed to show that Merck’s decision not to promote Colicchio and its termination of her violated the Family and Medical Leave Act and the New Jersey Family Leave Act.

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