Former WSOC news director Julie Szulczewski says she was fired after seven years, for no good reason.
That’s according to a recent lawsuit filed in federal court.
She claims the station and its parent company, Cox Media Group, pushed her out to bring in a younger man, according to a story in the Charlotte Observer.
Szulczewski says in the lawsuit she was fired a year into her three-year-contract despite being “groomed by Cox for higher level leadership positions in the organization.”
She says in the lawsuit she led the station’s 24-hour news coverage of the Rev. Billy Graham’s procession and funeral in early 2018 and that Cox Media’s general managers came to Charlotte to congratulate her team on a job well done with a dinner out.
The next day, she said she was summoned to a “strategy meeting” at a Charlotte hotel where one of the managers and a corporate investigator from human resources were waiting, according to the lawsuit.
Szulczewski said they accused her of having “inappropriate relationships” with male employees, “inappropriately touching” a male employee, yelling at an art director and taking staff out for drinks and appetizers in the past.
“Despite plaintiff’s explanations indicating that none of the accusations raised by the investigator were true or had any merit, the investigator took plaintiff’s employee badge and instructed her not to contact anyone until the ‘investigation’ was over,” the complaint states.
She said she was terminated in a letter March 8, 2018, which stated WSOC and Cox Media would “opt out” of the remainder of her contract.
Szulczewski claims she suffered emotional distress and has had to accept a new job for less pay. She’s seeking payback and compensation for damages.