Former KNBC Reporter’s Age Discrimination Suit Goes to Trial

By Kevin Eck 

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Frank Snepp will get his day in court against NBC-owned station KNBC.

The 72-year-old Snepp was an investigative producer who was first hired at the Los Angeles station in 2006 as a field producer. The Hollywood Reporter says he was fired in 2012 at the age of 69.

>UPDATE: We hear the lawsuit has ben delayed after the judge recused himself.

In a lawsuit against KNBC, NBCUniversal and Comcast, Snepp asserts that the reason for his firing was his advanced age. He was terminated just six weeks after NBC resolved a lawsuit with AEG stemming from his investigative piece about fire protection failure issues at the Staples Center. He alleges a new team had come in to lead news at the NBC station and that he was subjected to comments from superiors like “some people just see you as a grumpy old man who oughta just quit.”

The defendants brought a summary judgment motion that argued that to establish discriminatory motive, Snepp had to show a younger person replaced him.

Judge Stephen Moloney responded that it’s not clear “whether replacement by a younger person is a required element of the prima facie case” and further rules that Snepp has raised a triable issue over the reasons for his termination.

NBC is arguing Snepp was fired for inadequate performance while Snepp alleges such a review was a pretext.

[The Desk]