One of the country’s top mainstream news networks is finding itself in a difficult legal predicament.
According to Fox News, an Atlanta lawyer who had a racial discrimination suit against CNN dismissed earlier this year has made it known that he is re-filing his case and including even more alleged victims in the lawsuit.
This particular case is “as abhorrent as all of the sexual harassment cases that are rightfully now being prosecuted,” said Daniel R. Meachum to Fox News. “Educated, well-intentioned, experienced and talented African-Americans are being discriminated against.”
One of the plaintiffs, Celeslie Henley, said she worked at CNN for seven years until she lost her job after emailing the Human Resources Department about discriminatory treatment. The suit went on to say the mainstream news network had a “glass-ceiling” on the career paths of African-American employees.
The original case, which was dismissed, had 175 plaintiffs, but Mr. Meachum said more than 30 additional victims have come forward since the initial suit was denied by Judge William Duffey Jr. “We are drafting a new complaint, line by line, addressing the issues that he outlined for us,” Mr. Meachum said.
Although Meachum did acknowledge the difficulty in proving that systematic discrimination took place, he said the 205 plaintiffs involved “are not overly sensitive, walking around with chips on their shoulder.”
Meachum added that “95 percent” of the 205 people who were discriminated against have had these actions occur within the past four years.
“With the information that we have, and will get during discovery, I think we will be able to survive a motion for summary judgment. At that point, I think we will be victorious,” Meachum said.
CNN has not responded to these statements and accusations.
The original case was dismissed earlier in the year when Georgia Judge William Duffey Jr. felt the legal complaint was “fraught with conclusory claims, unsupported by factual allegations sufficient to support the inferences,” as reported by The Hill.
Mr. Meachum, who represented the plaintiffs at the time, promised to refile. “Black people are still being discriminated against at CNN and Turner and Time Warner and this order does not put an end to that discrimination,” he said in a statement at the time of the initial dismissal. “So we will endeavor to get our clients their day in court. Our heads may be bloodied but unbowed.”
The lawsuit alleged that African-American employees were compensated less than their white co-workers, denied promotions, refused pay increases, and even suffered discriminatory termination of their employment.
Among other things, employees claimed they had to endure bigoted remarks such as, “It’s hard to manage black people,” and “Who would be worth more; black slaves from times past, or new slaves?” according to former CNN employee, Ernest Colbert Jr.
A lawyer is re-filing a discrimination lawsuit against CNN. Does he have a chance of winning?
Mr. Colbert claimed that he was paid thousands of dollars less than his white colleagues as a manager, echoing the sentiments of Ms. Henley, whose outspoken criticism of this pay discrepancy allegedly cost her employment with the company.
Only time will tell whether Mr. Meachum will have the legal victory that he and his clients are anticipating. If the facts are as he claims, this lawsuit should severely damage CNN.