On Wednesday, July 31, 2019, Wigdor LLP filed a second gender and age discrimination lawsuit against Charter Communications, Inc. (“Charter”) which operates the news channel known as New York One (“NY1”). This lawsuit also involved allegations of egregious pregnancy discrimination.
The lawsuit comes just weeks after Wigdor LLP filed a highly-publicized lawsuit on behalf of five NY1 anchorwomen, which alleged that their careers were sidelined in favor of younger women and men after Charter acquired Time Warner Cable and gained control of NY1 in 2016.
The two plaintiffs – Thalia Perez and Michelle Greenstein – who were both on-air journalists at NY1, allege that they were discriminated against by NY1 because they were over 40 years old and because they were either pregnant or just back from maternity leave. As described in the Complaint, Ms. Perez was fired while in her third trimester after she complained that she had been discriminated against and denied additional on-air opportunities because she was pregnant. Also set forth in the Complaint, Ms. Greenstein was fired just three months after she complained that she was directly told she was being denied on-air opportunities because as a new mom they did not believe she could handle additional anchoring work. After both Ms. Perez and Ms. Greenstein were fired, their roles were filled by much younger women and men.
As alleged in the Complaint, Charter’s mistreatment of Ms. Perez and Ms. Greenstein, much like Charter’s alleged discrimination committed against the five NY1 anchorwomen, is “emblematic of a deeply rooted epidemic within TV media that women are viewed as dispensable when they reach a certain age while men can continue to age with a sense of grativas.”
Discrimination lawsuit filed today by Wigdor LLP alleges that @NY1 fired two female on-air journalists because they were women over 40. NY1's blatant marginalization of older, female on-air talent, and pregnant women, must come to an end. #BroadcastWomen https://t.co/ywteMQpK7b
— Douglas Wigdor – Wigdor Law (@WigdorLaw) July 31, 2019
Statement from Douglas H. Wigdor, Founding Partner at Wigdor LLP:
“Ms. Greenstein and Ms. Perez’s experiences only confirm and emphasize the allegations of both discrimination and retaliation from the other case we filed on behalf of five women only weeks ago. NY1/Charter has blatantly discriminated against older women who appear on-air — and disregarded any complaints of mistreatment — and this practice must end immediately.”
Statement from Ms. Perez:
“NY1/Charter clearly made a decision to limit the on-air time of older women, in favor of younger women and men. Unfortunately, I was a victim of this decision-making – and the fact that I was pregnant clearly counted as only an additional mark against me.”
Statement from Ms. Greenstein:
“As a new mother, being told that my decision to have children would render me disposable to NY1 was extremely demoralizing. I had previously feared retribution for speaking up about this, but seeing the five current anchors share similar stories of gender and age discrimination, it gave me the strength and motivation to come forward with my experience.”
Statement from Ms. Torre, Ms. Shaughnessy, Ms. Ramirez, Ms. Lee and Ms. Farinacci:
“While we are disheartened that our colleagues were similarly discriminated against due to their age and gender, and also their pregnancy and childcare responsibilities, we are glad they had the courage to speak up and we hope this case continues the conversation we set in motion. We hope our actions have helped give them the strength to stand up for themselves.”