Starcom MediaVest Settles Goldner Racial Suit
Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest Group has settled a racial discrimination suit brought against it last April by Kristi Goldner, a former media supervisor on the
agency’s General Motors account.
Filing in U.S. District Court in Michigan, Goldner complained that she had been recruited to SMG’s Planworks unit in 2006 based, in part, on what she said was a promise to be promoted quickly, only to be passed over several times.
Goldner was laid off after the agency lost the GM media agency account early last year, although she characterized the action as retaliatory, given that not all employees on the account were let go. In her lawsuit, she sought unspecified punitive damages, along with back pay.
The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The court issued a one paragraph order dismissing the case Wednesday, noting that that the dismissal was based on agreement by the parties.
Goldner’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. At deadline, SMG had no comment either.
With the Goldner case out of the way, SMG is still battling another discrimination suit that was filed in a New York court last September by former planning strategist Angela Cahill. She alleged that she was stripped of a number of responsibilities in 2011 after she became pregnant, and then was fired after she complained about it.
Cahill, who had been a top planner for local advertising on the Walmart account, alleged that both actions violated New York State and New York City human-rights laws. Responding in late December, SMG asked Judge Allison Nathan of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan to dismiss the complaint in its entirety, calling it a “meritless and vexatious action.”
Other holding company agencies are also fighting discrimination allegations, including Omnicom Group, whose agencies OMD and Code Worldwide were sued by former employees last year. The Interpublic group was also sued last year on discrimination grounds by legal staffer Joy Noel. Those three suits, all filed in New York City courts, are ongoing.