Portland Radio Character is suing on employment discrimination allegations

Michigan-based Portland Radio Company and its parent company Saga Communications were recently charged by a former employee with unlawful dismissal allegations.

Randi Kirshbaum, a Portland-based radio personality, recently filed two discrimination complaints against the Portland Radio Company and its parent company Saga Communications of Michigan. According to her complaint, Kirshbaum “got out of her job because of her age, a pre-existing illness and her employer’s refusal to find accommodation for her to work from home instead of returning to the office where she faced a bigger problem discharge risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. “

Image by Brian Turner / Flickr. Retrieved from Wikimedia Commons. (CCA-BY-2.0)

Commenting on the case, David G. Webbert noted that similar cases had been filed with the Maine Human Rights Commission and the EEOC. According to the complaint, Kirshbaum worked for the Portland Radio Group for 38 years “as a program manager for WCLZ and Coast 93.1 and was an on-air presenter for WCLZ and country broadcaster WPOR”. Suffice it to say that she worked on Portland’s airwaves for many years. Unfortunately, she was “released in May during an online meeting with Saga Communications officials.”

It’s important to note that due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Kirshbaum has spent much of the year working from her Scarborough home, “doing her shows and managing other station staff”. On the recommendation of her doctor, Kirshbaum requested “remote work” due to the pandemic. According to the lawsuit, Kirshbaum has “a genetic disease that could be triggered by respiratory diseases such as COVID-19.”

During an interview about the matter earlier this year, Kirshbaum said:

“They decided for some inexplicable reason that I have to come back even though I could do anything I have to do from home… It was shocking because this (pandemic) is a fluid situation. Everything could be different in two weeks. “

When asked why Kirshbaum was fired, Chris Forgy, Saga Senior Vice President of Operations, said in an interview: “She was fired for failing to meet the terms she agreed to work remotely.”

According to Forgy, when she started working remotely, Kirshbaum “agreed that her situation will be reviewed every two weeks to see if the arrangement was working and that it would be Saga’s decision as to when Kirshbaum should go back to work.” When she did not return to the office and continued to work remotely, the company fired her. Forgy said:

“She is completely uncomfortable coming back to the office and it is practically impossible for her to be the manager and not come back … We need guidance in the building.”

According to Webbert, Kirshbaum is 66 years old and belongs to a risk category for “death or serious injuries from COVID-19”. In her complaint to the Maine Human Rights Commission, Kirshbaum said:

“Despite my very favorable performance reviews and the strong support and loyalty of our listeners, I was abruptly fired from my 38-year job when I refused to defy my doctor’s instructions and risk my life by performing in person in the middle of work This deadly global pandemic … Rather than offering the apparently sensible way to continue my work remotely for a discreet period of time – something I had already proven to be more capable over a six-week trial period – my employer issued an ultimatum and fired me when I didn’t want to go back to work right away … When Saga resigned from my job, she illegally retaliated against me for requesting and taking appropriate accommodation for my disability. “

Right now, the MHRC and EEOC will be conducting an investigation and once that is complete, “or when 180 days have passed, Kirshbaum will have the opportunity to take their legal claims to court.”


Portland radio personality files employment discrimination complaints

The longtime Portland radio host makes discrimination claims against former employers

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