A former exec at United Entertainment Group, an entertainment, sports, and lifestyle marketing agency, sued parent company Daniel J. Edelman Holdings, alleging racial and disability discrimination.
Jigar Thakarar was hired in 2013 as an account supervisor, rising to senior account supervisor and VP of talent and influencers in 2016, according to his lawsuit.
He alleges in his suit that DJE, the parent of the PR giant Edelman, sent him on remote assignments, worsening his depression and anxiety, and fired him after he requested accommodations.
DJE ultimately fired Thakarar in October 2019 after he took home a client’s luxury car instead of leaving it at the Chicago office, he alleges in the suit. The company said Thakarar put its relationship with the client at risk, while Thakarar maintained that he took the car home because he was afraid it would be towed, according to the suit.
Thakarar also alleges in his suit that seven other employees of color like himself were forced out or fired between 2018 and 2019 and that he believes the company wrongfully terminated him on the basis of his Indian heritage.
Thakarar is seeking damages including lost pay and lost benefits, which DJE alleged in a filing would exceed $610,000.
A DJE spokesperson said the company wouldn’t comment on the lawsuit but that “The Daniel J. Edelman family of companies are steadfastly committed to diversity, equity, inclusion and fair treatment for all employees.”
Thakarar and his attorney did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.
Thakarar alleges in his lawsuit that DJE sent him on a nine-month assignment in 2018 to London, where he suffered severe depression and anxiety that resulted in him losing over 30 pounds.
In his lawsuit, Thakarar alleges he asked DJE to send him back to Los Angeles but that he was told he needed to stay in London “a little bit longer” if he wanted to be promoted to SVP.
After returning to LA, he claims in his suit, his condition grew so serious that he took a nine-week medical leave and underwent shock therapy. He claims that he asked to take 1-2 hours a week off work but wasn’t accommodated.
In January 2019, Thakarar claims in his suit, he was sent to Chicago for another assignment that went on weeks longer than promised, and that he relapsed as a result.
Read the full lawsuit below.
Edelman – Thakarar lawsuit by Sean Czarnecki on Scribd