McCann-Erickson's ex-VP claims Rs 1.61 cr for sexual harassment

By: Anil Thakraney and Viveat Susan Pinto

A former vice-president of top advertising firm McCann-Erickson has filed a suit against the company alleging sexual harassment, media magazine The Brief: has reported in its latest issue published today.

Clarinda D'Souza, who is said to have quit as VP - Creative with McCann-Erickson in Mumbai recently, has filed the suit (number 2507 of 2000) in Bombay High Court, the magazine said.

Those named in the suit are the company McCann-Erickson; Sorab Mistry, chairman and CEO; Nikhil Nehru, president and chief operating officer; Charles Berley, head of the company's Mumbai office; Peter Hamilton, executive vice-president - worldwide and regional director, Asia-Pacific; Donna Borseso, worldwide HR director and Marcio Moreira, vice-chairman, chief creative officer and director of global brands, New York.

D'Souza has claimed damages of Rs 1.61 crore from the company on account of "sexual harassment along with causing severe emotional pain and suffering as a result of the proposed transfer to the company's Hyderabad office, victimisation, public humiliation," among other allegations, the magazine said.

Clarinda D'Souza declined comment, saying that "I am under advice and it is not befitting for me or anybody else to comment on the matter, as it is sub judice."

Featured below is a reproduction of The Brief's interview with McCann chief Sorab Mistry on the subject.

The industry is rife with rumours about your Vice President - Creative, Clarinda D'Souza, filing a sexual harassment suit in the US against McCann-Erickson Worldwide, as well as yourself.

- First of all, at this time, I'm, I'm... (hesitates). I will not comment. You know it's natural for me not to comment.

- I think that Clarinda resigned to further a professional opportunity. At different times, any employee can choose to do what they want to do. They have every right, this is a democracy. We have nothing to fear. And. I also think that it is not an acceptable topic to comment on.

You are doing an interview about professional issues here. About what McCann-Erickson is all about and what Sorab Mistry is all about. And therefore we should not comment. I will not comment about that.

- But wouldn't you want to say something, the industry is rife about this issue. Why would she want to slap a sexual harassment suit against McCann-Erickson Worldwide and you?
- They will do that. they can choose to do what they want to do. You must understand that every employee has a right to do what they want to do. The courts will decide and I will let you know the result of that. And then the truth will come out.. right.

- So, you wouldn't want to say anything about it?
No. No, not really, now. It is not right. It is not right for me to comment. I am the chairman of the company. I am not here for rumour-mongering and gossiping.

But she has actually filed a suit. And the entire industry is talking about it.
- It's unfortunate. But as you know, I mean. I didn't want to comment on that subject at all. I'm. You know what you know. We are there. We are professionals and we will do what we have to do. We will continue to do that. We will stay on course. The results will decide.. I'm sorry.

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