|Michele Gillen with just a few of the 25 regional Emmy Awards she has earned (LA Times photos)|
The LA Times reports Arrington took on additional duties as the weekend sports anchor for KCBS-TV Channel 2 and KCAL-TV Channel 9. But one thing about her job galled her: She was earning nearly $60,000 less a year than the male anchor she replaced. When her contract came up for renewal, she told the station’s top managers that it was unacceptable to pay a woman so much less than a man.
More than two dozen current and former employees of KCBS and KCAL described a toxic environment where, they said, employees encountered age discrimination, misogyny, and sexual harassment — and retaliation if they complained.
Discrimination complaints have also surfaced at CBS-owned stations in Chicago, Dallas and Miami.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against CBS after investigating allegations that station managers in Dallas denied a full-time position to a 42-year-old traffic reporter and instead hired a 24-year-old former NFL cheerleader who didn’t meet the job’s requirements.
In late November, shortly before a scheduled trial, CBS reached a tentative agreement to resolve an age discrimination and retaliation lawsuit brought by award-winning Miami-based journalist Michele Gillen, who sued CBS last year. The company admitted no liability in the agreement. In her court filings, Gillen called CBS a “good ole boys club” that “protects men despite bad behavior.”
Managing a nationwide television station group with thousands of employees is challenging, CBS Television Stations President Peter Dunn said in a statement. But, he added, “the vast majority enjoy where they work every day and take great pride in serving their local community. At the same time, I am very mindful that in a large company we have people who are unhappy at times. We respect all voices who express workplace concerns to us.”
The job has become even more challenging due to profound shifts in media. TV stations are no longer the profit centers they used to be. At some stations, including KCBS and KCAL, anchors have seen their salaries shaved to save money. Highly paid employees are booted, and station managers increasingly rely on part-time workers to deliver the news. But networks still haven’t attracted younger audiences.
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