CNN and several of its affiliates could be following in its competitor, Fox News’s, fate as it faces a class-action discrimination lawsuit. While Fox News’ trouble stems from sexual harassment, CNN is facing charges of race discrimination from more than 175 former and current employees.
According to Hollywood Reporter,
Last December, CNN and other Time Warner units were hit with a proposed class action in Georgia federal court. The named plaintiffs include Celeslie Henley, who says she worked at CNN for seven years until she was allegedly fired after emailing human resources about discriminatory treatment.
Unlike the lawsuit against Fox News, the one against CNN and sister companies is much broader, claiming among other things that African-Americans receive lower performance ratings in evaluations, that there are dramatic differences in pay between similarly situated employees of different races and that the promotion of African-American employees is blocked by a “glass ceiling.” The complaint (see here) cites hiring and advancement statistics while alleging that African-American employees have endured slurs from superiors, including “It’s hard to manage black people” and “Who would be worth more: black slaves from times past, or new slaves?”
CNN and its affiliates requested a dismissal, requesting that the plaintiffs provide more specifics about the allegations. They also argued that many of the individuals in the suit had not exhausted the paths for resolving such issues internally.
However, in a motion to amend filed with the court on March 23 states, “Since the filing of this action, counsels for the plaintiffs have been contacted by more than 175 people, both former and current employees of the Defendant, requesting to be members of the putative class action, all having similar complaints of intentional racial discrimination, discrimination impact and discriminatory practices employed by the Defendants.”
An April 14 deadline has been set for CNN to respond to the amended complaint.
The sheer volume in numbers would seem to imply there could be issues within CNN and its affiliates. However, the paths to a resolution that must be exhausted according to company policy are often extensive and often either resolved or not completed before an employee decides to move on.