Publicis Groupe, the French advertising company, is facing allegations of discrimination against its employees. Women previously employed at an American division of the company have filed a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit against the company.
Specifically, the women allege that Publicis committed discriminatory pay practices and hired men at a disproportionate rate than women. They also allege that the Groupe terminated some women employees upon returning from maternity leave.
Further, the women argue that the company discriminated against them in regards to promotions. Roughly 70 percent of the company's public relations staff consists of woman, yet, the woman say that only 15 percent of the company's leadership positions are held by females.
Employers are prohibited from discriminating against certain employees in a protected class (i.e. women) on the basis of, for example, compensation, promotion and work responsibilities.
Founded in 1926, Publicis Groupe currently operates in approximately 195 cities and 104 countries.
The employment discrimination lawsuit has been filed in a New York District Federal Court. The women are seeking at least $100 million in compensation.
Within the last year, media reports of other companies allegedly committing employment discriminatory practices have surfaced, particularly in regards to gender and sex discrimination.
In January 2011, a gender discrimination class action lawsuit was filed against Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corporation, an energy system supplier and technology manufacturer. The complaint alleges that the company discriminated against female employees through pay, promotions, benefits, bonuses and development opportunities.
Last July, Novartis AG, a pharmaceutical giant, settled a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit for allegations stemming from discriminatory practices against women employees.