OK sought for Sanofi $15.36 mln gender bias accord

* 5,200 female workers alleged bias in pay, promotions

* Novartis settled similar case last week

* Aug. 3 hearing set to approval settlement

NEW YORK, July 21 (Reuters) - Lawyers for about 5,200 current and former Sanofi-Aventis SA SASY.PA female sales representatives asked a Manhattan federal judge to approve a $15.36 million settlement of a lawsuit accusing the French drugmaker of gender bias in pay and promotions.

The settlement requires Sanofi to improve policies on pay and promotions, boost female sales representatives’ salaries if pay disparities based on gender are found, and strengthen its complaint and compliance procedures, court records show.

It follows an agreement last week by Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG NOVN.VX to pay $152.5 million to about 5,600 female sales representatives to resolve a similar lawsuit.

The Sanofi settlement covers workers employed between May 2005 and March 2010.

In papers filed late Tuesday night in Manhattan federal court, lawyers for the plaintiffs estimated total relief at $24.17 million. This includes the $15.36 million payable to the female employees, plus $13.4 million related to equity pay adjustments, minus $4.59 million in attorneys’ fees.

A final hearing to approve the settlement is scheduled for Aug. 3 before U.S. District Judge John Koeltl. He granted preliminary approval on March 23.

The case is Bellifemine et al v. Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 07-02207. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by John Wallace)