Monique da Silva, a former global healthcare director at MSLGroup, has filed a class action gender discrimination lawsuit against Publicis Groupe and the the PR firm. In the suit, she alleges that “while Publicis funnels women into entry level rank-and-file positions at a disproportionate rate, these female PR employees rarely break through the glass ceiling at any agency in the conglomerate.”
According to the press release accompanying the lawsuit, “da Silva and the class” are suing for pay, damages, and legal expenses “in an amount of at least$100 million.”
“We generally do not comment on pending litigation, but we can say that the fact that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission dismissed Ms. da Silva charge reflects the lack of merit to her claims.”
Janette Wipper, partner at Sanford, Wittels & Heisler, LLP, which is representing the plaintiff, responded via e-mail: “The EEOC did not issue any finding concerning our client’s charge and did issue a right to sue letter. However, the EEOC’s investigation has no bearing on the litigation.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Publicis unfairly terminated da Silva and other women after returning from maternity leave. Da Silva claims she had been a director with the firm for six years between 2004 and 2010 when she was terminated during a reorganization following her maternity leave. She worked with the firm for 13 years at the time of her departure.
The lawsuit was filed in US District Court, Southern District of New York.