Former Omelet Associate Creative Director, Tiffani Harcrow, is suing the agency, alleging that she was wrongfully terminated in early May after expressing concerns about and refusing to work on a new Princess Cruises campaign she believed minimized the risk of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
According to NBC-4 LA, Harcrow’s Superior Court lawsuit against Omelet LLC cites retaliation, wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and unfair business practices. She seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
“This is a classic and especially egregious case of whistleblower retaliation, which took place as the world faced an unprecedented and deadly global health pandemic,” the suit states.
Harcrow was hired in May 2018 as Omelet’s ACD and according to the suit received “glowing evaluations.”
The suit follows with, “Harcrow was consistently described by Omelet’s management as an all-star and praised as one of Omelet’s top creative professionals.”
But in April, Omelet demanded that Harcrow and her team develop a “materially false, misleading, and dangerous marketing campaign for… Princess Cruise Lines,” the suit alleges.
“Omelet wanted an aggressive marketing campaign “designed to mislead consumers” into believing that it would be safe to travel on a Princess cruise ship on June 30, despite evidence to the contrary, according to the suit.
Harcrow claims she was first briefed on the assignment April 22, where her team was asked to “mislead” customers into believing that Princess’ cruise lines were safe.
On March 14, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control issued a no-sail order suspending the operations of cruise lines and other carriers for 30 days, and the next month the directive was renewed until July 24, the suit states.
According to Harcrow, she objected to and complained about the assignment to supervisors and asked whether safety protocols were in place. She also stated that telling the public that it was permitted, let alone safe, to travel on a cruise line on June 30 violated the CDC’s orders, according to the suit. ”
In an email, Harcrow and another Omelet employee reportedly told management, “From the health and safety precautions provided by Princess, we don’t feel comfortable telling the public that it’s safe to get on a cruise ship on June 30.”
Harcrow and her colleague then refused the Princess Cruises assignment, the suit states.
The next day, Harcrow claims she was chastised by two Omelet managers and told, “If you refuse this Princess brief, you will not be resourced on any more projects at Omelet,” the suit states.
Harcrow’s suit then claims she was not assigned any other active projects and never given an explanation, was fired May 6, the suit states. All of Harcrow’s responsibilities were transferred to employees who did not object to Omelet’s “dangerous, misleading and unlawful marketing campaigns,” the suit states.
When Reel 360 reached out to the Culver City agency, an Omelet spokesperson replied, “Ms. Harcrow was part of a round of layoffs due to the COVID crisis. Laying off employees is always difficult, but in the current environment it is unfortunately a reality of life. These claims are false and have no foundation. We will be vigorously defending ourselves in the appropriate forum.”