Former KTTV reporter Chris Blatchford is suing the Fox-owned Los Angeles station for age discrimination.
“Defendants’ mistreatment of Blatchford, including harassment, discrimination and retaliation against Blatchford on the basis of his age and good faith complaints regarding such treatment, adversely affected Blatchford’s health and contributed to his developing a serious medical condition,” says the lawsuit as reported by Law360. “Blatchford’s physician warned that his condition would not improve if he returned to work at the hostile work environment at Fox KTTV.”
“That [Blatchford] has essentially been ‘put out to pasture’ by Fox because of his age is reprehensible,” said Blatchford’s attorney Carney Shegerian. “Employers such as Fox must be made to understand that they simply cannot discriminate against or wrongfully terminate employees — not based on age — not for any reason.”
The 68-year-old former reporter also claims Fox retaliated against him after he backed union steward Tony Valdez in what he says was a campaign to decertify the union.
“Blatchford was among the reporters who had his role minimalized after standing up for Valdez and the union,” the suit said. “In contrast, the freelancers, who were primarily younger employees, who supported decertifying the union were rewarded with staff positions.”
Blatchford, who said his complaints about the alleged retaliation were ignored, claims that the news affiliate within the past five years has terminated two reporters, a weatherman and at least three anchors who were all older than 50.
In addition, the suit claims that a news director had an “ongoing sexual affair” with a legal analyst and that the news director’s energies were devoted to advancing the legal analyst’s career at the expense of more qualified senior reporters.
Blatchford brings claims of discrimination on the basis of age and retaliation in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, among other causes of action. The suit names as defendants local Fox affiliate Fox U.S. Productions 11 Inc., parent company 21st Century Fox Inc. and other related entities, along with a number of individual defendants who served as Blatchford’s supervisors.