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On May 16, a wrongful termination lawsuit was filed in a California court against the global CEO of RAPP. The Omnicom ad agency CEO, who joined the company in 2014, is accused of firing the former president of RAPP USA for complaining about harassment and discrimination that he witnessed.

According to the plaintiff in the wrongful termination complaint, the company's new global CEO was a 'destructive force within the company" as soon as he was appointed. The CEO is accused of demonstrating his dislike of certain racial and ethnic groups through his comments and his actions. He is also accused of discriminating against women. In one incident described in the lawsuit, the CEO refused to promote a female employee who he thought was too attractive to be taken seriously.

While he was employed, the plaintiff submitted numerous complaints about the global CEO's behavior to the company's human resources department as well as to its in-house attorney. The former president told other staff members to file complaints against the CEO as well. When the CEO learned about the complaints, he asked the plaintiff to speak directly with him. Less than one mother later, the plaintiff was fired after returning from a vacation.

People are protected by both federal and state law from being sexually harassed in the workplace. Both they and their fellow employees are equally protected against being retaliated against if they complain about the behavior. While being terminated is an egregious form of retaliation, a denial of a promotion or pay raise could be illegal as well. An employment law attorney can explain the options available to people who have been the victims of such types of action.

Source: Business Insider, "Lawsuit claims ad agency CEO 'pressured' female employee to get him free Viagra," Lara O'Reilly, May 18, 2016

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