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Class Action Filed Against CNN for Race Discrimination Against Black Employees

Emanuel Shirazi

CNN and its parent companies Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner just got slapped with a race discrimination class action lawsuit. Though only two plaintiffs have been named, Celeslie Henley, a former CNN executive administrative assistant, and Ernest Colbert Jr, a senior manager at TBS, there are between 20-30 anonymous current or former employees who are alleging company-wide racial discrimination.

The lawsuit seeks to represent all black employees who worked for CNN/Turner in the US since April 1997 and held salaried or mid-level managerial positions. The attorney for the Plaintiffs claims that CNN/Turner has been discriminating against black employees for over 20 years. His firm has spent the last three years collecting information before finally filing the suit. Some of the discrimination that the suit alleges includes:

  1.  Black employees were fired more often and promoted less often than white employees, according to statistical data obtained from Turner.
  2. The loose policies and practices that Turner has in place allows supervisors to use subjective criteria while performing evaluations and promotions. Black employees may miss out on opportunities for promotions because they are unaware they even exist.
  3. Supervisors direct racial slurs and prejudicial biases at black employees including saying things like “it’s hard to manage black people.”
  4. Though blacks make up a third of CNN’s ethnic background, they are paid less, hold lower positions, and must wait three times as long to receive the same promotion a white employee would.
  5. Though blacks hold high positions, there are none represented in the company’s most crucial departments.
  6. Celeslie Henley claims she worked longer hours than her white colleagues after returning from maternity leave. She believes the company retaliated by terminating her after she complained to HR.
  7. Colbert claims that he was paid less than his white colleagues even though he worked for the company nearly 20 years. When he was promoted, he was unfairly compensated.

What do you think of these allegations considering there have been at least three other similar racial discrimination lawsuits filed against CNN in the past few years?

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