Already battling several racial discrimination claims in the courts, CNN now finds itself facing a class action from a former employee and others – and the move is based on the cable news network’s own stats.
“As a result of the current discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of DeWayne Walker vs. CNN, Time Warner & Turner, we have uncovered stories involving abuse of power, nepotism, revenge, retaliation and discrimination,” attorney Daniel Meachum said in a statement today. A producer at CNN, Walker sued the newser earlier this year for $50 million over alleged discrimination and retaliation.
“A review of compensation ratios, provided by Turner and/or CNN’s Human Resources Diversity Trends Report amongst Turner’s various departments indicate staunch discrimination in compensation for males of color and minorities holding positions above mid-level managing,” claims the jury-seeking action (read it here) filed yesterday in federal court against the Jeff Zucker-run channel, TBS and Time Warner. “Salaries paid by Turner and/or CNN to African Americans compared with salaries paid to Caucasian employees reveals dramatic differences in pay in similarly situated employees of different race,” read the suit, filed on behalf of now-pink-slipped CNNer Conner Celeslie Henley and longtime TBS employee Ernie Colbert Jr.
“Furthermore, African-Americans are deterred away from filing grievances and complaints about mistreatment for fear of losing their jobs and being blacklisted from the only career they have maintained for decades,” the class action also claims.
Seeking wide-ranging damages and pay plus a court order ending the alleged discriminatory practice, the filing this week comes as Time Warner execs today faced a grilling from senators in DC over AT&T’s proposed $85 billion acquisition of the media giant. Which can’t be the kind of optics either company wants as they face regulatory hurdles and the possible opposition of President Donald Trump. The class action also comes as the racial discrimination cases against CNN of now ex-producer Ricky Blalock, former producers Stanley Wilson and Omar Butcher are still making their way before the courts.
Through a spokesperson, CNN declined to comment on this latest legal action. However, the December 6 filing in U.S. District court in Georgia seems to speak volumes.
“Such stark statistics can only be attributed to the fact that Turner, specifically, CNN has implemented formal written and unwritten policies and practices regarding promotions which do not allow or require open competition- through the posting of all positions- for positions higher than vice president, but allow “management nomination,” which amounts to little more than word of mouth recommendations, and other closed procedures, including the use of a high potential list,” the 41-page filing notes of the alleged process of discrimination occurring at the cabler.
Meachum of Atlanta’s Daniel R. Meachum & Associates is representing Henley, Colbert and potential further class members in the matter.