A weatherman in Los Angeles is suing CBS broadcasting for discrimination, saying the station only aims to hire young, attractive women to report on the weather.
New York City, like Los Angeles, has one of the largest media markets in the country, and as such, this case could have implications for future New York discrimination lawsuits involving similar circumstances.
Our New York City discrimination attorneys believe that everyone should have an equal opportunity to pursue the career path they choose. Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against someone on the basis of sex, age, race, religion and other factors.
But what about when you work an industry like television, where good looks - and certain looks - are practically a requirement of employment?
The fact of the matter is, federal law prohibits discrimination - period. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act spells this out clearly. These laws are enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Under this law, the discriminatory practices include just about every aspect of employment. This includes:
- hiring and firing;
- pay or classification;
- transfer, layoff, promotion;
- use of certain company equipment or facilities;
- retirement or disability;
In this case, Kyle Hunter, an award-winning meteorologist, said he had applied for two weatherman jobs in the Los Angeles area - one at station KCBS and the other at KCAL. The first opening position was to replace longtime weatherman Johnny Mountain. But despite his superior resume, which showed Hunter to be a more qualified and experienced candidate, the job was given to Jackie Johnson, a younger female.
Then when Hunter applied for Johnson's old position, the job again went to a younger (i.e., less-experienced) female. Hunter said it is clear that gender and age played a role in the hiring decision, and that he was at a disadvantage because he is over the age of 40 and a male.
Yet, he is a weatherman with more than 20 years experience in various large markets, has a bachelor's degree in meteorology and is certified by the American Meteorological Society. The qualifications of the other candidates, according to his suit, did not come close.
This case is somewhat unusual in that we often hear about ageism and sexism in terms of males having the advantage. Women have long talked about that glass ceiling that for decades prevented them from advancing or even being accepted into certain fields.
Hunter's attorney, Gloria Allred, was quoted as saying that men are equally protected under anti-discrimination laws.
For its part, CBS has denied that sexism or ageism is at issue. In fact, it called Hunter's lawsuit "frivolous."
Our New York discrimination attorneys will be closely watching this case as it unfolds.
The Law Offices of Ira S. Newman provides employment law legal counsel in New York City, Long Island, Great Neck and throughout the area. Call 516-487-7375 or contact us through the website.