Greg Andersen, a former executive with RAPP agency, filed a wrongful termination suit alleging that his termination was due to his complaints about his claims regarding CEO Alexei Orlov’s discriminatory behavior. RAPP is an Omicon-owned direct marketing agency of which Greg Andersen previously served as President (until he was fired in April of 2016). Andersen claims that Orlov’s behavior created a hostile work environment with frequent comments and behaviors exhibiting discrimination against women and numerous racial/ethnic groups.
Andersen claims that the agency did not take appropriate action in response to his complaints regarding Orlov’s discriminatory behavior. The agency is aware of the claims being made by Mr. Andersen and state that his “termination” was due to his position with the agency being eliminated. In response to claims of discriminatory behavior and failure to act on claims of discriminatory behavior they point towards their policies preventing discrimination and retaliation.
Andersen filed in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles. Defendants listed in the suit are Rapp Worldwide and Rapp Worldwide California. Andersen seeks an unspecified amount in damages. In the suit Andersen alleges that RAPP failed to show basic respect for the civil rights of employees, the Andersen made numerous complaints regarding Orlov’s inappropriate behavior prior to his termination, and that a number of other employees at RAPP have since filed complaints with the company regarding Orlov’s behavior. Andersen claims that his termination came less than a month after Mr. Orlov became aware he had made a complaint.
Some of the behavior cited in the suit that Andersen claims Orlov exhibited include: referring to women as “fat cows,” declining to promote females because they were “too pretty” so “no one would take them seriously,” and using descriptions such as someone being “miserly with money because he was Jewish.” According to Andersen’s allegations, Orlov also dismissed complaints regarding other executive’s lewd comments to female employees in order to protect their careers. Additionally, Andersen states that Orlov exhibited age discrimination with comments such as not wanting to see RAPP filled with “people in their forties and fifties.”
This lawsuit against RAPP is another example indicating that there could be a major problem with diversity and inclusion in the advertising industry. Alongside other suits in recent news, the RAPP lawsuit is leaving many debating the issues of women and minorities in positions of power in advertising.
If you have questions regarding discrimination in the workplace or if you need to discuss problems with diversity and inclusion in your workplace, please get in touch with the experienced southern California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.