A Miami judge recently cleared a class action lawsuit against CBS Broadcasting, Inc. relating to labor law and gender and age discrimination. If a jury ruled against the company, the verdict could “have a nationwide impact on CBS 29. and operated television stations known as CBS Television Stations, Inc. “
Close up of 100 dollar bills; Image by Jeshoots via Pixabay.com.
What happened? What was the case even filed? For starters, the lawsuit was filed by former WFOR-CBS4 Miami freelance reporter Silva Harapetian (her legal name is Harapeti). In the lawsuit, she alleges “that WFOR routinely worked her 50 to 60 hours a week when she was a freelance reporter and producer for seven years.” She wasn’t the only overworked employee, however. The lawsuit states: “You and others in a similar situation allegedly received no overtime, vacation pay, sick pay and health benefits.”
Harapetian argues that she was “instructed to list 8 hours each day on her timesheet, even if she worked a lot more, which she routinely did.” To make matters worse, Carl Larson, the WFOR controller, “couldn’t deny during a hearing earlier this year that he directed Harapetian to submit inaccurate timesheets and misrepresent their actual hours”. Joel Goldberg, operations manager at CBS, intervened during the hearing, saying, “The company’s positions are in accordance with the daily rate procedures known to the company’s executives.” Another CBS industrial relations manager testified that “for administrative reasons, daily rate workers were instructed to list 8 hours each day on their timesheets.” According to the lawsuit, Harapetian was paid $ 210 a day whether she worked eight or twenty hours.
In addition, the suit notes that Harapetian “was repeatedly promised a full-time job with benefits when one became available”. However, when vacancies became available, it was never offered and it stayed per day. Eventually she confronted news director Liz Roldan, who told her that a job was not available to her. To make matters worse, she was allegedly “denied even a modest request to increase her daily rate.” Over time, she was “forced to give up her leased car and had to buy a scooter to drive to and from the television station,” according to the suit. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Roldan ordered Harapetian to “give up her sideline in multimedia education”. He allegedly said, “Make a commitment to work at CBS and figure out what your priorities are.”
In addition, Harapetian claims that “she was paid less than male and younger female reporters,” which is why she filed the complaint of age and gender discrimination.
So far, CBS has called the lawsuit unfounded, claiming that Harapetian’s complaint was not filed in a timely manner and that she had “provided no evidence to support her allegations.”
It is worth noting that the lawsuit itself is unprecedented, as Judge Lauren Lewis’s decision “allows employees and former employees of the company’s 29 CBS stations to participate.”
This is not the first time CBS has been sued for alleged gender discrimination. In 2019, an associate producer sued the station for 60 minutes.
Lawsuit alleges that CBS Broadcasting paid slave wages and practiced gender and age discrimination
The producer of the US television show ’60 Minutes’ is suing CBS for alleged gender discrimination