Another Race Discrimination Suit Against Interpublic On the Way

Former HR Staffer Will Allege Widespread Bias Against African Americans and Other 'Dark-Skinned' Employees

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A second federal lawsuit alleging widespread race discrimination at Interpublic Group of Cos. is being readied and could be brought against the ad holding company as soon as next week, Ad Age has learned.

This time, the plaintiff will be a former employee who worked in the Human Resources department at the world's fourth-largest agency holding company. Her lawyer, Eric Sanders -- who is the same lawyer in a similar case brought against Interpublic earlier this year -- declined to share the name of the new plaintiff until the filing of her suit.

But, he did tell Ad Age : "I can tell you that she supports Joy C. Noel's contention that racial discrimination in the employment practices at IPG is a widespread problem affecting hiring, firing, discipline, bonuses and promotional opportunities, particularly to African Americans and other dark-skinned people of color...this lawsuit will detail the widespread practices in great detail."

Interpublic in a statement told Ad Age that it "has not seen the lawsuit and cannot comment on any details until we have had an opportunity to review it."

The forthcoming lawsuit against Interpublic will follow the filing of a suit in a Manhattan federal court in April seeking $50 million in damages. It was brought by a Trinidadian employee, Joy C. Noel, who in her complaint stated that she was denied promotions because of race and faced retaliation for speaking out against discrimination. She also claimed she was paid less than her white counterparts.

She named several senior executives in the suit, including Interpublic Chairman-CEO Michael Roth. He has since been dropped from the proceedings.

The original suit is proceeding, with oral arguments slated to begin next month. Ms. Noel still works at Interpublic.

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