Ad agency CEO named in discrimination lawsuit

On May 16, the former president of the ad agency RAPP USA, filed a lawsuit against the company claiming that he was fired because he complained about the behavior of the company’s global CEO. This is the second high-profile lawsuit filed in regards to an ad agency’s alleged discrimination in just a few months.

Andersen is accusing the agency of failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation, discrimination in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, retaliation in violation of FEHA, wrongful termination in violation of public policy and retaliation in violation of the California Labor Code. The suit says that the CEO refused to promote a woman to the position of managing director on the grounds that she was too pretty and pressured another female employee, who was working on the Pfizer account, to get Viagra for him.

The suit also says that Orlov told a Jewish employee that he was miserly due to his Jewish background and refused to discipline a male employee who speculated on whether or not a female employee was wearing underwear. The former president also says that he made several complaints to the head of global human resources and encouraged others to do so as well. After returning from a vacation, he says he was terminated.

Despite laws that are supposed to protect employees against discrimination and harassment at work, employees may still find that they face obstacles to reporting such behavior. An employer might retaliate against an employee and claim that the employee’s poor performance or other factors were to blame. A person who is facing harassment or discrimination at work might want to speak to an attorney to discuss the best way to proceed.

Source: Business Insider, “Lawsuit Claims Ad Agency CEO ‘Pressured’ Female Employee to Get Him Free Viagra,” Lara O’Reilly, May 18,2016

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