McCann Fights Age Bias Lawsuit

17 July 2006

Interpublic Group-owned media agency Universal McCann has denied accusations of age discrimination in a lawsuit brought by former executive George Hayes.

The agency has asked a New York court to throw out Hayes' claim, which he filed following his dismissal in February after thirty years with the company [WAMN: 17-May-06].

Hayes, now 54, alleges he was told by the agency that he lacked the "required skill set" to continue in the job, a charge Universal McCann refutes. It claims that "client accounts for which Hayes was responsible had complained that the accounts were being mishandled".

The agency also denies the allegation that worldwide ceo Nick Brien, who arrived last fall at the advanced age of 34, said young people at the New York office "got it" when it came to new media in the digital age, implying older workers did not.

Universal McCann argues the case should be dismissed because it had published "firm policies" against discrimination and that Hayes, "unreasonably failed to promptly take advantage of the preventative or corrective opportunities provided" by those policies.

Both sides declined comment.

Data sourced from Adweek (USA); additional content by WARC staff