Ex-Apple PR Sues Holding Company W2O Group for Gender Discrimination

By Patrick Coffee Comment

As a quick reminder that creative advertising is far from the only industry that deals with gender discrimination and sexual harassment on a regular basis, last week a veteran of the tech public relations world filed suit against her employer, communications holding company W2O Group.

According to The Holmes Report blog, which broke the story at EOD Friday, Lynn Fox was let go in March and now claims that her firing was a form of retaliation after she made earlier complaints about gender discrimination.

Specifically, Fox claims that she was harassed by a male superior and that the company hesitated to hire and/or promote her because of her status as a mother.

Her statement to The Holmes Report generally cites recent cases you may have seen on this blog:

“I’m not the first or only person to be negatively affected by unconscious bias from an employer. The recent uptick in gender discrimination cases in advertising and PR tells the story much better than I can. I’d like to thank all the plaintiffs before me for taking the first steps on this long path toward real equality for women.”

W2O CEO/chairman Jim Weiss issued a statement claiming that “we have always treated Ms. Fox fairly and see no merit to any claim she might bring” while noting that W2O Group had not yet seen the complaint (which was filed on July 28) as of last Friday.

Fox has an extensive history in tech PR, working in-house for Apple, Google, Twitter and Palm before launching her own firm Fox Communications, which was acquired by W2O last year. The holding company, which currently owns the agencies WCG, Twist Mktg and Brewlife and has acquired various independent operations in recent years, handles social media marketing and analytics work in addition to more traditional public relations fare.

We currently don’t have any more details regarding the Fox case, but we will be following the story.