In June we reported that one-time Adweek “multicultural agency of the decade” GlobalHue had not paid its employees since March 15. Many of those employees reached out to elaborate on their experience with us, and today one said the window without pay was even longer, writing, “I can confirm that the last paycheck we received was Feb 29.”
This week, 10 of those staff members joined a class action suit against the company and its founder/CEO Don Coleman.
The suit, officially filed on August 15th in Manhattan federal court by the Filosa Law Firm, accuses Coleman and his company of violating these employees’ individual contracts as well as the minimum wage requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law’s wage payment requirements.
In addition to the suit, we also hear that GlobalHue will soon close its New York office after losing its last client, Walmart. That company recently consolidated its accounts with Publicis, and multiple sources have told us that the multicultural portion of the business was part of that move.
For our June post, Coleman claimed that his company would pay all of its debts, adding, “We have over a million dollars that has been held up by my bank over a dispute.” These promised payments never arrived. Today Coleman told us that he is “evaluating [the] situation and will comment upon conclusion.”
The suit makes various claims beyond what we reported earlier this summer in seeking “declaratory, injunctive and equitable relief, as well as monetary damages” for the employees involved.
Those parties range from executive creative director Ola Kudu Green and account director Sean Creighton to SVP Angela Spencer Ford, who has been an employee since 2007.
The documents filed by Filosa specifically reference our post, noting that Coleman “repeatedly assured employees that they would be paid for the work that they performed” and that he doubled down on those promises in his June email exchange with AgencySpy. The suit reads, “Despite this and other assurances, Plaintiffs have not received any compensation from Defendants for the work that they performed from March 16, 2016 through the present.” It also notes that Coleman has continued to assign work to these staffers despite his repeated failure to pay them and that they have, in some capacity, served as GlobalHue employees up to the present day.
The suit also refers to the Walmart account in the past tense, thereby confirming sources’ claims that the company recently ended its relationship with GlobalHue after more than a decade.
Two separate legal complaints have also been filed against Coleman and GlobalHue in recent weeks.
In June, Leonard C. Howard filed suit claiming that Coleman had failed to pay him for his duties as driver for the CEO’s daughter.
That suit claims that Howard’s assignment was to drive Ms. Coleman to work, to wait for her outside the office during the day, and to take her to “any business and social activities she attended in the evenings.” He “typically worked about 75 hours per week,” and the suit also claims that Coleman “frequently spent long evenings in various clubs in New York City, not emerging until the early hours of the morning.” Howard would then be tasked with driving her home and picking her up to take her to the gym at 8 AM the following morning.
According to the documents, this “grueling pace” lasted until she left the agency in July 2015. At that time, Howard began driving her father, who “did not have the same social activities.”
Like the other employees, Howard continued working after receiving his last paycheck on March 15.
The real estate company that owns the agency’s headquarters at 123 Williams Street in Manhattan has also sued Coleman for breaking the lease. According to The New York Post, the company seeks $1.24 million from the former NFL linebacker.[Image via GlobalHue.com]