What's this blog really about?

You may notice a variety of topics here - from business, to charity promotion, even to local news, but the primary reason this blog was created was to alert readers to the hostile atmosphere and sexual harassment at The Danville Register & Bee. The readers and creator of this blog want a FULL FRONT PAGE apology in the Danville Register & Bee, plus the disciplining of those individuals involved. Until then, we'll continue to post regular updates. To tolerate THIS kind of behavior by a major media network is intolerable. And this isn't just ONE instance. Media General has been sued nationwide for racism and sexism, yet they CONTINUE to keep the offenders employed. Why? And why am I doing this? TRUTH compels me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ah.....the woes, the woes, the woes

Gee....nine years and they STILL have not learned their lesson....

Friday, April 9, 1999
Legal woes plague CBS42
Potential racial discrimination suit at Media General looms

Beset by legal problems with former employees, CBS42 WIAT and its owner, Media General Broadcasting, now face a potential racial discrimination lawsuit by seven former employees.

Calling themselves the Birmingham Seven, the group of former CBS42 African-American employees is in the process of filing a suit alleging racial discrimination and other charges, according to two of the former employees.

Channel 42 general manager Eric Land and Barry Frederick, Media General's local attorney, would not comment on any litigation involving the station.

The seven were fired afterMedia General bought the station from Park Communications in January 1997, the two group members said, asking not to be identified.

All have filed a racial discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), asking for "right-to-sue" approval, which is a prerequisite for filing a racial discrimination lawsuit.

An EEOC spokesman in Washington said the agency couldn't comment.

Some of the seven will file lawsuits for breach of contract, fraud and defamation of character, according to one of the former employees.

Meanwhile, a May 3 federal court date has been set for a breach-of-contract case against Media General by Hoyle Broome, 42's longtime, former general manager.

Also, former sports director Doug Bell last month settled his breach-of-contract lawsuit against the station, Tampa-based Media General and Land. Bell was fired by Land along with most of the Channel 42 on-air personalities in December 1997 in the wake of Media General's purchase of CBS42 (then WBMG).

In court documents, Bell said he repeatedly asked Media General if he would be retained as sports director and offered a contract renewal in light of the ownership change. Bell said Land told him he was "his man" and would soon be offered a new contract.

Bell charged that "the defendants knew at all times ... that the plaintiff (Bell) would not be asked to continue his duties as sports director as before the ownership change; that the plaintiff would not be offered a new contract ...; that the plaintiff was not Land's `man'; that the plaintiff, along with other on-air news anchors, would be terminated."

Bell claimed the alleged misrepresentations constituted fraud, "and the defendant, Land, has a practice and pattern of such conduct with prior employees."

In addition, Bell described coming to work Dec. 15, 1997, not knowing he had been fired, finding that his security pass and keys wouldn't work.

He alleged he wasn't allowed to retrieve his personal belongings from the station.

In response, Media General said in court documents that Bell breached his employment agreement "by engaging in insubordination, dishonesty or deceit, on-air improprieties, unauthorized removal of property of the television station, repeated failure to perform assigned work in the manner required by his employment agreement, and on-air broadcasts in violation of exclusivity obligations."

Bell charged the defendants with wrongfully breaching his employment contract, for which he was asking compensatory damages, as well as compensatory and punitive damages for "intentional misrepresentations, fraud and other wrongful and malicious conduct of the defendants."

Bell's attorney, Bill Lewis, would not discuss terms of the agreement. Bell did not return phone calls. He continues to do sports-related television and radio work in Birmingham. His wife, Brenda Ladun, is a news anchor for ABC 33/40.

Meanwhile, Broome, Land's predecessor, was Channel 42's general manager for 20 years until he was fired by Media General shortly after the company's purchase of the station in January 1997.

In court documents, Broome leveled a host of charges at Media General involving his dismissal, including breach of his employment contract, fraud, racial discrimination, retaliation and breach of contract for severance pay. He also charged the company with racial discrimination under the Civil Rights Act for prohibiting him from firing then-news director Willie Walker, who is African-American, for fear she would charge the station with racial discrimination.

Federal District Court Judge Inge Johnson last month granted a summary judgment in favor of Media General, throwing out all of Broome's charges except for the breach of contract for severance pay allegation. That goes to trial May 3.

The judge, however, granted Broome's request for a reconsideration hearing on the other charges. It will be held at the same time as the pre-trial conference for the severance pay case, on April 21, in federal court in Birmingham.

Land, the CBS42 general manager, fired most of the on-air personalities, both African-American and white, at the same time of Bell's dismissal.

1 comment: