Gender discrimination claimed against French firm

February 24, 2011 12:55 PM ET

NEW YORK (AP) – A lawsuit in New York claims 1 of the world’s largest advertising firms discriminates against its female employees.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in Manhattan against French advertising conglomerate, Publicis Groupe. It claims that women make up 70% of 45,000 employees who work for the company worldwide but they hold only 15% of the management positions.

It says the company also routinely terminates women after they return from maternity leave.

The company’s Web site says it employs 49,000 people in 104 countries.

The lawsuit seeks to represent all women who worked for the Paris-based company from 2008 until now. It also seeks more than $100 million in compensatory and punitive damages. A message left with the company for comment was not immediately returned.

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