N.Y. Commission Probes Shops’ Minority Hiring

NEW YORK The New York City Commission on Human Rights, which has launched a fact-finding effort into minority hiring practices of ad agencies in the city, held a meeting on Tuesday at which agency representatives stressed their willingness to move forward and pledged their full cooperation, sources said.

The commission is probing shops from all five major holding companies, along with independents, sources said. There is no set timeline for the investigation.

A representative for the commission declined to comment.

On May 10, 14 agencies answered a confidential commission questionnaire, according to sources.

“The attitude is one of cooperation,” said Howard Ruben, a partner at the law firm Davis & Gilbert LLP, which represents agencies from four of the five holding companies. Ruben made it explicit that the commission’s efforts do not stem from a complaint or person who had been denied an agency position or fired.

But according to a source, some agencies have been forthcoming with information, while others have been subpoenaed by the city to produce answers.

“This is now a full-blown investigation because the numbers [of minorities working at agencies] have shown that there’s a problem,” said that source.

In the 1960’s and ’70s the commission undertook similar missions, at which point it looked at resources and jobs at ad agencies with respect to minorities.

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