Roehm Sues Wal-Mart for Wrongful Dismissal

25 January 2007

DETROIT: Julie Roehm, former svp of marketing communications at Wal-Mart, has filed suit in Detroit's US District Court against the Bentonville behemoth. Seeking unspecified damages, it alleges she was wrongfully dismissed within days of hiring DraftFCB as the retail giant's first new lead agency in fifteen years.

Wal-Mart, notoriously zip-lipped about its inside track at the best of times, has never explained the reasons for Roehm's dramatic sacking - nor that of her erstwhile colleague Sean Womack, vp of Communications Architecture.

In a court filing, however, it claims that Roehm had no employment contract with the company and that her "improper conduct" renders her ineligible for damages. Moreover, alleges Wal-Mart, she failed to fulfill "the expectations of an officer of the company."

For her part, Roehm, a former DaimlerChrysler advertising executive, accuses the retailer of breaking agreements it made to lure her to the Arkansas boondocks.

She also alleges that Wal-Mart falsely accused her of violating its employee policies on two counts: conducting a personal relationship with a subordinate; and accepting gifts from ad agencies - both of which charges she refutes.

Moreover, avers Roehm, the company provided no evidence of the alleged misconduct; and also failed to return personal property.

A date for the hearing was not announced.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online. additional content by WARC staff