Friday, July 29, 2016

El Paso Radio: KLAQ Sued Over Maternity Dismissal

Stephanie McMaster
UPDATE: A lawsuit filed last August by an El Paso radio morning cohost at Townsquare Media’s rock “Q95.5” KLAQ was dismissed in July 2017, following a settlement between the parties. Stephanie McMaster-Berning filed suit after being let go in March 2016, one month before the birth of her baby.

The station, she claimed, had not wanted her to be out during the spring ratings season; she said she was fired because she was pregnant and would need maternity leave.

According to court documents, “the parties have reached a mutually satisfactory compromise resolving all issues in this matter. A Settlement Agreement and General Release has been knowingly and voluntarily executed by the parties.” No details were included.

Original posting...

The former co-host of the popular KLAQ 95.5 FM morning radio show claims that she was fired because she was pregnant and would need maternity leave, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in El Paso.

The El Paso Times reports Stephanie McMaster-Berning alleges in the lawsuit that she was fired in March, a month before the birth of her baby, because the rock radio station did not want her to be on maternity leave during the spring ratings season.

McMaster-Berning, who was known on-air as Stephanie McMaster, is suing morning show host Buzz Adams and Townsquare Media, the parent company of KLAQ. Adams is named in the lawsuit as Michael Whitt.

McMaster-Berning accuses Adams of repeatedly making comments criticizing employees who took time off to care for newborn babies before she was fired.

McMaster-Berning, Adams and representatives of KLAQ could not be reached for comment.

The lawsuit alleges McMaster-Berning's firing was in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

In August 2015, McMaster-Berning joined the "Buzz Adams Morning Show," a humorous show that is a longtime staple of El Paso morning radio. Last year it expanded to markets in Midland-Odessa KBAT 99.9 FM, San Angelo KNRX 96.5 FM  and Abilene KEYJ-107.9 FM.

Before joining the morning show, McMaster-Berning worked in the radio station's corporate offices in New York City and was the known for humorous social media posts. She was nicknamed "Stephanie the Corporate Computer Babe" and would help KLAQ staff with social media efforts, the KLAQ website says.

According to the lawsuit, McMaster-Berning moved to El Paso with her two children, ages 12 and 8, when she was hired as the KLAQ morning show co-host.

After arriving in El Paso, she learned that she was pregnant and advised KLAQ Operations Manager Kevin Vargas, who allegedly told her that the maternity leave would coincide with the station's spring ratings season, the lawsuit states.

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