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Publicis Groupe, MSLGroup Sued for Gender Discrimination

Publicis Groupe SA and its MSLGroup unit were sued for allegedly discriminating against female public relations employees in pay, promotions and firings.

Monique da Silva Moore, a former global health-care director for MSLGroup filed a gender discrimination suit today in federal court in New York, claiming that men dominate the senior management positions at a company where 70 percent of the employees are women.

“Publicis’s glass ceiling might as well be a cement wall,” da Silva Moore said in the complaint. “Gender discrimination permeates Publicis’s entire PR practice.”

According to the complaint, da Silva Moore seeks to represent a class of hundreds of women who are current and former public relations employees of Paris-based Publicis and MSLGroup in the U.S. The suit claims more than $100 million in damages.

“We generally do not comment on pending litigation, but we can say that the fact that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission dismissed Ms. da Silva’s charge reflects the lack of merit to her claims,” Trudi Harris, a spokeswoman for MSLGroup, said in an e-mailed statement. She said the company expects the court will reach the same conclusion.

Janette Wipper, a lawyer for da Silva, said in an e-mailed statement that the EEOC “did not issue any finding concerning our client’s charge.” The agency’s investigation has no bearing on the lawsuit, she said.

Peggy Nahmany, a spokeswoman for Publicis, had no comment on the suit.

The case is Da Silva Moore v. Publicis Groupe, 11-CV-1279, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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