Black Ad Employee Sues WaPo for Discrimination

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By Betsy Rothstein Comment

So far mums the word around WaPo about a federal lawsuit being brought forth by a black advertising department employee for age and race discrimination. The news first surfaced in a story by Evan Gahr for The Daily Caller published Wednesday. It’s his first freelance story for the publication. He says there are more to come.

Lawsuits can be complex so we’ll boil it down for you.

The Plaintiff: a longtime employee, David DeJesus, 59, who claims he was abruptly fired only to be replaced by a younger, white man. DeJesus has an 18-year employment record at WaPo and has won awards for his sales performance. At the crux of the suit is the treatment of DeJesus by his Caucasian boss, Noelle Wainwright, who he alleges treated him in a demeaning manner that she did not extend to white employees. According to the story, “DeJesus was actually reinstated at the Washington Post early this year following binding arbitration required by the paper’s union contract.”

WaPo‘s defense from court papers: “Some or all of Plaintiff’s purported claims are barred because, even if the Post were found to have considered any impermissible factors in any decisions or actions with respect to Plaintiff, which the Post denies, no such decisions were motivated by impermissible factors and the Post would have taken the same action regardless of any impermissible factors.”

Noteworthy: The lawsuit states that between 2009 and 2011 WaPo fired at least 18 black employees over the age of 40.

The status: Discovery reportedly begins later this month.

Who spoke to Gahr from WaPo and who didn’t?

Gahr says he reached out to black WaPo employees such as Kevin Merida, and columnists Eugene Robinson Jonathan Capehart. He left them repeated messages; Neither Robinson nor Capehart returned his calls. Merida picked up, heard the reporter out and said he’d look into it. Gahr said Merida told him he hadn’t heard about the case and wouldn’t comment on it. He phoned Donald Graham at his listed home phone number but got voice mail. He also phoned Wainwright who hung up on Gahr when he called her. Finally, he phoned the outside Post lawyer handling the case, Jackie Jones, who told him she was not allowed to talk to him.

Read the full story here.

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