Writers and Editors Sue Dallas Morning News For Age Discrimination

Posted on October 26, 2006

Eighteen former employees of The Dallas Morning News are suing the newspaper and its parent corporation, Belo Corp., for unlawful termination due to age discrimination. The claim they were fired due to their ages and due to the fact that Belo didn't want to continue to fund their pension plans.
"Plaintiffs' ages were motivating factors in their terminations of employment, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act," the suit said. "Defendants also implemented policies that had a disparate impact on employees over age 40, resulting in plaintiffs' terminations," it said. Belo spokesman Carey Hendrickson said on Wednesday the suit was without merit, and declined to offer comment on the circumstances of the employees' dismissals.

"We are aware of the complaint and we believe the complaint is without merit, and intend to defend against it vigorously," Hendrickson said. The lawsuit also accused the newspaper of fostering a hostile attitude toward older workers. "The environment at DMN (the Dallas Morning News) became hostile for many employees over age 40, some of whom became the subject of derogatory comments made by younger managers," the complaint said.

The suit accuses Belo of interference with pension plan benefits, failure to disclose material information and severance information, age discrimination and conspiracy to defraud.
The Dallas Morning News has had a streak of bad press lately: the paper fired its entire arts department, including its art critic and the book reviewers. Now this new lawsuit adds fuel to the fire: these are very serious charges. We'll see how it plays out. We think the paper will settle before the case goes to trial.

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