O&M and Hill, Holliday Face Lawsuits

A former account executive last week filed suit against Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, alleging disability discrimination. Also, a 16-year Ogilvy & Mather vet who formerly oversaw creative on advertising for Mattel’s Barbie has filed suit against the agency in state Superior Court in Los Angeles, alleging age and sex discrimination.
The Hill, Holliday suit was brought by Gerard McDavitt, a vp on the John Hancock account from 1997 until his dismissal in March 1999. In 1998, according to the suit filed last week in U.S. Superior Court in Boston, McDavitt advised Hill, Holliday he was diagnosed with cancer and required time away from work. His supervisor, evp Karen Kaplan, told him to take as much time as he needed. But in March ’99, hours after talking to Kaplan about his return, McDavitt was contacted by vp of human resources Rebecca Haag and told his job had been eliminated.
McDavitt is seeking back pay, reinstatement, compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees and costs and a trial by jury.
In addition to the suit, McDavitt filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. McDavitt maintains he was let go because of “disability, actual or perceived” and that his performance was satisfactory during his employment.
McDavitt and a Hill, Holliday representative declined comment.
The Ogilvy lawsuit was brought by Barbara Lui, 70, who joined Ogilvy’s L.A. office as a freelancer in 1983 and by ’91 rose to svp and creative director. She claims she was offered a reduced agency role in June ’99 that meant working less than seven months a year and earning less than half her previous compensation.
The suit, which also alleges wrongful termination and various contract breaches, states Lui refused the arrangement and was terminated last September. Ogilvy reps in New York and Los Angeles declined comment.