A group of white, straight, British male creatives from J Walter Thompson London – WPP stablemate of PR agencies H+K, Burson Cohn & Wolfe and Ogilvy – are accusing the agency of discrimination after being made redundant earlier this summer.
It is understood that they were made redundant just days after expressing their concern at remarks made by JWT creative director Jo Wallace on stage at a Creative Equals conference in May.
Wallace, who introduced herself to the audience as a gay woman, said she was going to "obliterate" JWT’s reputation as an agency full of white, British, privileged, straight men.
She was speaking not long after the publication of the first mandatory reports by UK companies on gender pay gaps and they revealed that JWT UK had the biggest gap in advertising, at 44.7% in favour of men.
It is understood that, shortly after the conference the group of men went to JWT’s HR department to express their reservations about what this meant for their career prospects. Just days later, they were told that they were being made redundant.
They have engaged legal advice and are claiming discrimination on the basis of gender, race, nationality and sexuality.
JWT declined to comment.
A version of this article first appeared on PRWeek sister title Campaign