Twenty-five “distraught” employees at CBS Television City have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the facility’s new owner and CBS Broadcasting, saying that they were “traded” after its sale and not offered buyout deals, unlike many of their colleagues.
All of but one of the defendants have worked at CBS for at least 30 years, with most starting in the 1970s or ’80s and two serving there since the ’60s (the least-senior defendant began in 1993). With a combined 917 years of employment at Television City, the plaintiffs’ jobs run from technician and camera operator to engineer and HR rep and many others.
In their 22-page complaint filed just before Thanksgiving in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), “the plaintiffs say: “Without warning in late-2018, CBS cashed in on Plaintiffs ‘ sweat and talent when it sold Television City to [Michael] Hackman , a local real estate developer, for $750 million. … Plaintiffs ‘ shock and dismay escalated dramatically when , in January 2019, CBS suddenly told Plaintiffs that they would no longer work for CBS in 2020. CBS Senior Vice President of West Coast Operations Mike Klausman directly told Plaintiff s they were simply “traded to Hackman like baseball players get traded to another team ” and that all such decisions on future employment, compensation and buyouts would be solely up to Hackman. Klausman now works for Hackman.”
The suit adds: “Then the very next day after escrow closed on the sale of Television City to Hackman, on February 1, 2019, CBS offered a lucrative buyout to all of its employees throughout the United States who qualified under its 80 point system; while all of the Plaintiffs herein met the 80 point criteria, none of them were offered the buyout in an unfair and discriminatory decision based on their age but under the guise of CBS’ decision that Plaintiffs would no longer be CBS employees in 2020. The savings to CBS from this illegal act is in the tens of millions of dollars.”
CBS Broadcasting, Television City Studios and Michael Hackman & Associates are among the named defendants in the suit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages “in the tens of millions of dollars” and restitution. Attorney Wayne S. Kreger from the Law Offices of Wayne S. Kreger in Santa Monica is representing the plaintiffs in their class action.
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