The top executives at The New York Times have come under a multimillion-dollar class action lawsuit for creating “a culture of discrimination” at the company based on age, gender and race. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two African-American female employees in their 60s who worked in the paper’s advertising department. The two women alleged that they were paid less than younger, white employees and were overlooked for promotions within the Times.
On April 28 the complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan against the newspaper, President, Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson and Executive Vice President, Chief Revenue Officer Meredith Levien. According to the suit, The Times’ older advertising directors of mixed races and color were pushed out through buyouts or terminated and their positions were quickly filled with younger, Caucasian hires.
The plaintiffs — 62-year-old Ernestine Grant and 61-year-old Marjorie Walker — claimed that, since Thompson came on as chief executive, the company has “gotten considerably younger and whiter.” They have also alleged that the paper pays its “younger white individuals” more than its minority counterparts. They argued that its “younger white” employees were permitted to leave the office early on Fridays during the summer, while they were not.
The suit also brought to light Mr. Thompson’s past discriminatory practices during his employment as director-general at The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Mr. Thompson had been caught in a series of highly damaging situations involving the age and gender of newscaster Moira Stuart, former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillip and Countryfile presenter Miriam O’Reilly. Ms. O’Reilly brought an age discrimination employment tribunal against Mr. Thompson, and won in 2011.
Mr. Thompson is not the only one who has come under the media scope for sexist and ageist remarks towards employees. Ms. Levien has allegedly made it clear in speeches to her staff that her ideal workforce was to include “fresh faces” populated by “people who look like the people we are selling to.” It has been claimed that Ms. Levien has made racially charged innuendos to the advertising staff that comprised primarily of older, African-American females.
If you have concerns regarding employment law issues, contact an experienced New York employment law attorney who can ensure that your rights are protected. Call Steven Mitchell Sack at (917) 371-8000 or email him at sms@StevenSack.com.