Ex-Penguin rep sues, says publisher discriminated

Associated Press Modified: September 5, 2012 at 9:46 pm •  Published: September 5, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — A longtime spokeswoman for Penguin Group (USA) is suing the publisher, alleging age discrimination and an "orchestrated, coordinated" effort to drive her out.

Fifty-six-year-old Marilyn Ducksworth filed papers Wednesday with New York's Supreme Court asking for lost pay and punitive damages. She resigned last week after 27 years with Penguin and says in her lawsuit that older colleagues had been demoted and forced out in favor of younger employees and that she was ostracized after protesting the changes. Authors she has worked with include Betty White, Ken Follett and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz.

In a lengthy airing of internal policies, Ducksworth describes a contentious atmosphere, with Ducksworth in frequent conflict with Penguin president Susan Petersen and other top officials. Ducksworth alleges that Penguin's discrimination against her included "diminishing her executive responsibilities, dismantling her staff" and "interfering with her internal and external professional relationships." She quotes one executive as telling her the publisher wanted employees who were "faster, stronger and more nimble because the older, slower version doesn't work anymore." She also disclosed what she calls a plan to replace Penguin CEO David Shanks

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