Larry Conners Files Age Discrimination Suit Against KMOV

By Merrill Knox 

Larry Conners has made good on his threat to pursue legal action against Belo Corp. and St. Louis CBS affiliate KMOV. In documents obtained by TVSpy, Conners has filed an age discrimination complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights and EEOC.

In the complaint, Conners alleges the station retaliated against him after a dispute over his salary resulted in arbitration last year:

Beginning in December 2010, I have complained to KMOV management about the disparity in pay between me and my previous co-prime anchor, Vickie Newton, an African-American female; I claimed that I received less compensation than Newton because of my race and gender. Ultimately, my complaints resulted in arbitration against KMOV and Belo. Since that arbitration concluded in April 2012, I have been treated differently by KMOV.

Conners says general manager Mark Pimentel and news director Sean McLaughlin removed him from all but one of the evening newscasts, effectively demoting him from his position of primary anchor. He also alleges “other news staff with less news experience was sent out into the field to cover major breaking news stories.” Conners says he was given a two-year contract while other, younger staffers received three-year contracts.

Conners also says KMOV’s response to his claims that the IRS targeted him after a tense interview with President Obama was a result of the salary dispute:

Since my complaints, Pimentel and McLaughlin have severely scrutinized by comments; prevented me from continuing my Facebook discussion about the IRS controversy beginning May 13, 2013; directed me to read a statement on air that was inaccurate; blocked my access to my KMOV Facebook page, Twitter and KMOV email accounts; prohibited me from commenting or publishing anything about the IRS discussion; and terminated my employment with KMOV.

Similarly situated news staff and news anchors were not prohibited from discussing news stories or personal experiences on their KMOV Facebook pages, and they were not disciplined or terminated from employment with KMOV as a result of their Facebook postings or other communications of their personal experiences or discussions of news stories.

Those similarly situated news anchors and news staff were younger than me and had not complained to KMOV about discrimination and pursued arbitration.

Conners says that Pimentel and McLaughlin fired him from KMOV “in retaliation for my previous complaints.” Conners alleges he has suffered damages of “lost wages, emotional distress, humiliation, and damage to my good reputation as a news reporter and anchor.”