Partner of Former KRON Employee Suing for Pension Benefits

By Kevin Eck 

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The husband of a former KRON employee is suing the San Francisco station, the former station owner, and a union after his spousal benefits were denied after his husband’s death.

David Reed and Donald Lee Gardner weren’t married when Gardner retired from KRON 2009, but under California state law, the the two were entitled to the same benefits and protections as married couples since they had been together since 1998 and became domestic partners in 2004.

In the complaint filed in federal court against KRON, KRON’s former owner Young Broadcasting and IBEW, Reed’s attorneys writes “California law also mandates that domestic partners, following the death of the other partner, shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits . . . as are granted to and imposed upon a widow or a widower.”

“The Plan needs to abide by its promises and provide this much needed benefit to David,” says Amy Whelan attorney for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “It is shocking that a San Francisco-based company and a California Plan would discriminate against its employees and their partners in this way. There is absolutely no defense in this case.”

Media General, which merged with Young in 2013, told TVSpy, “Our company’s policy is not to comment on pending litigation.”

“Federal law requires pension plans to follow their written terms, and there is no question that David and Donald must be treated as spouses under the clear language of the plan,” says Reed’s attorney Teresa Renaker.

“My husband and I did everything we could to protect one another,” says Reed. “Words cannot describe the grief of losing the person you planned to spend the rest of your life beside. While I mourned his loss, I was devastated by KRON 4’s refusal to recognize our relationship and to pay the benefits that Donald earned during his long service to KRON 4 in order to protect our family.”

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