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NYT CEO accused by employees of age and sexual discrimination

With age comes experience and a certain amount of knowledge and wisdom. Given this premise, in terms of employment, older employees should be regarded among a company's most valuable assets. In reality, however, employees as young as age 40 are often subject to forms of subtle and not-so-subtle discrimination in the workplace.

Revered as one of the most liberal and well-respected newspapers in the world, a shadow was cast on The New York  Times after the paper's CEO, Mark Thompson, was recently named in a class action workplace discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuit, which was filed by two black female employees who are in their early 60s, contains allegations that the CEO has engendered a workplace atmosphere in which employees are discriminated against based on their "age, race and gender."

According to the two plaintiffs, who work in the newspaper's advertising department, under Thompson's leadership, the paper's staff is "systematically becoming increasingly younger and whiter." Also named as a defendant in the lawsuit is NYT chief revenue officer, Meredith Levien, who the plaintiffs contend made numerous shocking and blatantly discriminatory declarations at department staff meetings.

Allegations purported in the lawsuit against Levien include charges that she openly declared "she wanted a workforce with fresh faces." The lawsuit also details comments Levien made at a meeting during which she declared to members of the paper's advertising staff, many of whom are older black women, that "this isn't what our sales team should look like."

Thompson previously served as the director-general at the BBC during which time he was also named as a defendant in an age discrimination lawsuit that was filed and won by 53-year-old BBC presenter Miriam O-Reilly. While the NYT vehemently denies the truth and validity of the claims against both Thompson and Levien, the evidence presented in the lawsuit is compelling.

Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, employers are barred from discriminating against employees age 40 and older with regard to hiring, firing, pay, promotions, trainings, and layoffs. Additionally, New York state law protects all workers, regardless of age, against age discrimination while Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees against discrimination based on their gender or race.

Employers who violate these and other federal and state employment laws should be held accountable for their actions. An attorney who handles employment law matters can provide strong legal advocacy for employees who have been the targets of age, sexual and racial discrimination.

Source: The Guardian, "New York Times boss sued over alleged ageist, racist and sexist hiring practices," Rupert Neate, April 28, 2016

The Guardian, "Countryfile's Miriam O'Reilly wins BBC ageism claim," John Plunkett, Jan. 11, 2011

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Age Discrimination," May 3, 2016

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