Two former Spectrum News NY1 female journalists are suing the network’s parent company, Charter Communications. Their lawsuit is for age, gender as well as pregnancy discrimination.
The plaintiffs are Thalia Perez and Michelle Greenstein, both of whom were let go by the company in 2017.
According to their representatives at Wigdor LLP, Perez and Greenstein claim that they were discriminated against by NY1/Charter Communications, “not only were they were both over 40 years old, but they were also pregnant.”
The suit adds: “Nonetheless, NY1/Charter cut them loose and retained and promoted younger female and male talent in their place.”
We have reached out to Charter for comment, and will update this item when we hear back.
*Update: “As we’ve said, we take these kinds of allegations seriously, but this lawsuit has no merit. These two women only provided fill-in work. A few years ago, we decided to employ more full-time on-air employees. At that time, we no longer had a need to call them for shifts. Our records show that neither Michelle nor Thalia applied for any open position.” —Charter Communications
The complaint states that Perez, who joined NY1 in 2015 as a part-time anchor, was fired in October 2017 while in her third trimester after she complained that she had been discriminated against and denied additional on-air opportunities because she was pregnant.
“NY1/Charter clearly made a decision to limit the on-air time of older women, in favor of younger women and men,” Perez remarks in the complaint. “Unfortunately, I was a victim of this decision-making—and the fact that I was pregnant clearly counted as only an additional mark against me.”
The suit also claims that Greenstein, who joined NY1 in 2013 as a part-time traffic reporter, was fired in 2017 just three months after she complained that she was directly told she was being denied on-air opportunities, “because as a new mom they did not believe she could handle additional anchoring work.”
Greenstein adds: “As a new mother, being told that my decision to have children would render me disposable to NY1 was extremely demoralizing. I had previously feared retribution for speaking up about this, but seeing the five current anchors share similar stories of gender and age discrimination, it gave me the strength and motivation to come forward with my experience.”
This is not the first time NY1 female anchors have filed lawsuits against the company. In June, an age and discrimination lawsuit was filed by a quintet of NY1 female anchors, all of whom were still on the payroll.
According to the lawsuit, co-filed by veteran NY1 mid-day anchor Roma Torre, anchor/reporter Kristen Shaughnessy, Brooklyn reporter Jeanine Ramirez, anchor/reporter Vivian Lee and Staten Island reporter Amanda Farinacci, the plaintiffs’ careers began a “demonstrable, precipitous decline” beginning in 2016, after Charter merged with Time Warner Cable.
In response to that June lawsuit, Charter stated: “We take these allegations seriously and as we complete our thorough review, we have not found any merit to them. NY1 is a respectful and fair workplace and we’re committed to providing a work environment in which all our employees are valued and empowered.”
Earlier this month, Torre posted an open letter to New York City Mayor (and Democratic presidential candidate) Bill de Blasio on Medium, calling for action regarding what she feels is retaliation and further discrimination by NY1 and its parent company Charter Communications.
She wrote that her request to cover the U.S. Women’s World Cup team celebration in New York was rejected, and claimed the move was “retaliation and a further demonstration of NY1’s complete failure to take women’s issues seriously.”