Erin Johnson’s Lawyers Claim JWT Has Pressured Her to Resign, Made Her a ‘Pariah’

By Patrick Coffee 

The Erin Johnson/JWT case experienced yet another twist yesterday as Johnson’s legal team filed a letter asking the judge to call a meeting regarding a potential preliminary injunction/restraining order.

The letter claims that JWT staff has engaged in “retaliatory behavior” against Johnson both during her leave of absence after she filed a discrimination suit against the agency and its former chairman Gustavo Martinez and in the week-plus since she returned to work. The law firm of Vladeck Raskin & Clark implies that JWT has done so in order to pressure Johnson to resign and that the injunction is necessary to “stop the retaliatory conduct.”

According to the letter, JWT leaders “attacked [Johnson] personally” during her leave of absence, accused her of resisting “repeated attempts’ to have her come back to work” and subjected her to “humiliating treatment” when she returned to the office on November 2.


Specifically, Johnson’s lawyers state that CEO Tamara Ingram has placed her “in a box” by seating her directly in front of the hear of HR and “[making] clear that Johnson would no longer be permitted to do anything that resembled the duties of her prior position as Chief Communications Officer. Johnson has virtually no work to do. … As a result of defendants’ retaliatory actions, plaintiff is nothing more than a pariah at JWT.”

The lawyers then claim that JWT has not denied any of this behavior but attributed it to Johnson’s refusal to do her job. The letter states that she has been discouraged from interacting with other employees and that “several sources” confirmed that they’ve been frightened to come forward and testify on her behalf. According to the letter, Ingram also “chided” Johnson for bringing more negative attention to the agency despite the fact that JWT “[knew] full well, as defendants previously admitted, that such an announcement ‘would be picked up by the press.'”

Expect more filings to come. Today an agency spokesperson wrote, “We will respond to the request at the appropriate time in the court proceeding.”