Suit: French ad firm discriminates against women

AP News
Posted: Feb 24, 2011 2:59 PM
Suit: French ad firm discriminates against women

A lawsuit filed Thursday seeks to represent hundreds of U.S.-based female employees of a French advertising conglomerate in claims that it discriminates against women.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan claims that 70 percent of Publicis Groupe's workforce of 45,000 is composed of women but they hold only 15 percent of management positions. It sought more than $100 million in compensatory and punitive damages for hundreds of women who worked for the Paris-based company from 2008 until now in the U.S.

According to the lawsuit, the company denies women equal pay and advancement opportunities and routinely terminates women after they return from maternity leave.

"Women began dominating the public relations industry in the 1980s, but, even three decades later, they have had little success in advancing to the highest levels of management at Publicis Groupe," Janette Wipper, a lawyer who worked on the lawsuit, said in a release.

A message left with the company for comment was not immediately returned.