Former Employee Files Discrimination Lawsuit Against WTHR

By Merrill Knox 

The former executive assistant to WTHR general manager John Cardenas has filed an age and sexual discrimination lawsuit against the Indianapolis NBC affiliate and Dispatch Broadcast Group, WTHR’s parent company. The Indianapolis Business Journal has details of the lawsuit, filed last month in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana:

In the suit, [Debbie] Wiley describes a work environment at WTHR that lacked any sort of grandeur. Wiley alleged Cardenas on multiple occasions was drunk while at work, “during which times his inappropriate behavior was even more exaggerated.”

Given her close working relationship with Cardenas as his assistant, “she bore the brunt of it,” Wiley’s attorney, Eric Pavlack, told IBJ. Wiley claims the station president also made inappropriate sexually suggestive “and/or romantically suggestive physical contact” with her.

At one point last June, she states in court records, “Cardenas was drunk at work and kept getting into my personal space, which made me uncomfortable. I reported this to management, as well.”

Wiley alleges that neither the station’s nor Dispatch’s human resources departments took appropriate action. After a week-long vacation last June, Wiley was fired.

According to IBJ, Cardenas was dismissed as a defendant after attorneys for the station argued that “he had no individual liability because he was not her employer.”