JWT discrimination case to go to tribunal

Group includes Chas Bayfield.

Wallace on stage with Peon at Creative Equals conference
Wallace on stage with Peon at Creative Equals conference

The straight, white, middle-aged men who claimed they were forced out of J Walter Thompson as part of a diversity drive are taking the agency to an employment tribunal.

The men involved, which include senior creative Chas Bayfield, have engaged law firm Judge Sykes Frixou to fight the case. They are due to serve papers either tomorrow (Friday 15 February) or early next week.

JWT will then have a maximum of 28 days to respond to the claims in writing, giving its side of the case. Once it has replied, the tribunal will decide whether there will be a full hearing to decide on the case. If they can prove that they were discriminated against, there is an unlimited payout.

Campaign broke the story of the allegations in November. It is alleged that they were ousted after raising concerns about the comments of JWT creative director Jo Wallace at a Creative Equals conference in May. Wallace introduced herself as a gay woman and said that she wanted to "obliterate" the reputation that the agency was full of white, privileged straight men after the company announced a gender pay gap of 44.7%. Wallace was speaking in a joint presentation with JWT executive creative director Lucas Peon. 

The story attracted considerable media attention and it is believed that the BBC is making a programme about the case. Since the allegations first came to light, WPP is in the process of merging JWT with Wunderman.

Wunderman Thompson declined to comment.

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