Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest Group has asked a New York District Court judge to throw out a discrimination suit filed by Angela Cahill, a former planner with the agency.
Cahill, who sued in September, alleged she was stripped of a number of responsibilities after she became pregnant in 2011 and then was fired after she complained about it.
In response SMG last week asked Judge Allison Nathan of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan to dismiss the former Walmart ad planner’s complaint in its entirety and award it fees and costs “incurred in defending against this meritless and vexatious action.”
In its filing, SMG denied Cahill’s charges and stated that at all times its actions with respect to her were based on “legitimate, non-discriminatory business reasons and would have been taken regardless of plaintiff’s gender, sex, pregnancy or engagement in any allegedly protected activity.”
SMG also said that any discrimination and retaliation claims made by Cahill were invalid because she failed to take advantage of the agency’s “preventive or corrective opportunities.” Those opportunities were not spelled out in the filing. The agency asserted it was not liable for damages because it made “good faith efforts to comply with all applicable laws” and did not commit any “willful or reckless acts or omissions.”
The Cahill suit is one of a number of discrimination cases filed against agencies or their holding companies over the past year. An earlier complaint was filed by a Detroit-based former SMG staffer in March. In that action, Kristi Goldner claimed she was passed over for promotion because of her race. The case is still winding its way through the U.S. District Court in Detroit.
Other discrimination suits are pending against both Interpublic Group and Omnicom Group and its agencies OMD and Code Worldwide.