Publicis Groupe Australia commits to NDA waiver movement

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 26 February 2019
Publicis' Sydney HQ

With just days to go until the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces closes, Publicis Groupe Australia is the latest advertising giant to join the movement.

Following news in 2018 that Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins would conduct a national inquiry into the important issue, she urged business leaders to make a partial waiver of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) allowing people to make confidential submissions to the national inquiry.

With just a handful of advertising businesses in Australia so far backing the #waivetogether movement, major network Publicis joining is a welcome move.

It now sits alongside OMD Australia, WPP AUNZ, Clemenger BBDO and DDB Australia. Independent, full-service creative agency, The Town Square, is also listed, as well as big brands including Telstra, NAB, Medibank and BHP.

Publicis Groupe says it "fully supports" the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces currently being conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission - adding that it has "comprehensive policies and procedures in place to prevent and address sexual harassment as part of its commitment to having workplaces free of sexual harassment".

Last year Publicis also launched the VivaWomen! initiative locally, which champions a positive, progressive voice for the more than 1,000 women working across the business in Australia.

“This, along with our other various cultural initiatives further expands on our belief in the ‘Power of One’ fostering greater collaboration among our people and building a more diverse workplace,” Publicis Groupe CEO Michael Rebelo tells AdNews.

“To allow all individuals the freedom to make a submission to the National Inquiry, Publicis Groupe Australia will not enforce confidentiality obligations in any agreement that would prevent an individual from doing so. This waiver only applies to submissions made to this National Inquiry.”

Founder and ECD of Venus Comms, Bec Brideson, previously told AdNews that it is encouraging to see the multinationals that have signed up and are therefore “walking the talk” and making a statement that they support the positive move to creating safer working environments by assisting with a National Inquiry.

She said some of the industry's clients, such as Telstra, NAB, Medibank and BHP, are setting a standard of positive behaviour and she encourages the procurement influencers, the CMOs and leadership teams of these businesses, to put their agencies on notice regarding levels of acceptable behaviour.

“If your agency doesn’t align with your values and culture – then maybe they are not the right people to be connecting with your audiences,” she said at the time.

“There’s a mismatch of values and this will come through all levels of the work they produce, the way they produce it and the unconscious nuances they are projecting. If your brand has taken a stand, and your agency hasn’t – it’s a flawed partnership.”

Clemenger CEO Nick Garrett tells AdNews that the #MeToo movement has helped shine a light on some of society’s worst behaviours, "including those in our own backyard".

See: 'Let the silenced be heard' - more adland firms must waive NDAs

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