Lawsuit alleges gender and age discrimination, a hostile workplace, retaliation, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract, and unlawful restraint of trade, and seeks injunctive relief as well as front pay, back pay, and exemplary and punitive damages
The national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein announces the filing of a gender and age discrimination employment lawsuit in federal district court in Nashville on behalf of “Face of Channel 4” news anchor Demetria Kalodimos against Meredith Corporation d/b/a WSMV Channel 4 (NBC).
The action, filed under the Tennessee Human Rights Act and Disability Act, Tennessee common law, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 alleges a continuing policy, pattern, and practice of gender and age discrimination. After an extended campaign of biased treatment against her, Channel 4 terminated Ms. Kalodimos’s employment after nearly 34 years of award-winning journalism by leaving her a one-page letter at the Channel 4 reception desk.
Over the last several years and up to her termination from Channel 4, Ms. Kalodimos advocated for other older on-air personalities and women, including younger women, trying to navigate the culture of bias at Channel 4. Ms. Kalodimos’s objections to the gender and age discrimination she suffered and witnessed caused her to be targeted for greater hostility and mistreatment because of her gender and age. As the complaint sets forth in detail, the stellar quality of Ms. Kalodimos’s work over three-plus decades was irrelevant because of gender and age stereotypes about the competency and likability of experienced women.
“When I made the decision to devote my career to Channel 4, I never dreamed I would have to bring a lawsuit in order to do my job,” said Ms. Kalodimos. “Effective news anchors personify trust for their organizations and committed journalists expose wrongdoing, even if it’s happening under their own roof. If this can happen to me, after decades of dedication and sacrifice, I know it can happen to anyone, and I certainly don’t want that to be my legacy.”
Ms. Kalodimos added, “My role at Channel 4 transcended the job description, and I took on that responsibility, carefully protecting and promoting the station’s identity. The end of my employment at Channel 4 is an episode I am forced to recount and relive with concerned viewers nearly every day.”
“For more than three decades Ms. Kalodimos devoted her life to Channel 4, earning the station innumerable accolades for her journalistic excellence. In return, Channel 4 abused her time and trust, undermined her at work, and summarily dumped her without warning due to its gender and age bias while she was still at the height of her career,” said Lieff Cabraser partner Kelly M. Dermody, who represents Ms. Kalodimos and leads the firm’s national Employment Practice Group. “This case is an example of what happens to experienced female professionals when forced to navigate the gauntlet of sex stereotypes into the middle of their careers. It is wrong in any workplace and it is wrong here.”
“This is not an isolated incident,” explains Kenny Byrd, another of Ms. Kalodimos’s attorneys and partner in the Nashville office of Lieff Cabraser. “Channel 4 and Meredith have a culture of discarding women once they reach a certain age as if women have some expiration date. And this culture led directly to the termination and vilification of Demetria Kalodimos in ways that affected her income, reputation, career, and future earning potential.”
Background on Ms. Kalodimos
During her tenure at Channel 4 in the Middle Tennessee media market, Ms. Kalodimos received myriad local and national accolades for broadcast and journalistic excellence, including an extraordinary 16 national Emmy Awards, three national Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Awards; two Edward R. Murrow Awards for investigative reporting; three National Headliner Awards, two American Women in Radio and TV Awards, AP Broadcaster of the Year (1997), numerous other AP awards and recognitions, and repeated recognition as “The Best Local TV News Personality” and “The Best Reporter” by Tennessee publications, including The Nashville Scene and The Tennessean. In 2016 she was inducted into the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame and awarded the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Silver Circle for lifetime career achievement.
Ms. Kalodimos remained one of the most lauded anchors at Channel 4 right up to the end. Just two months prior to her termination, Ms. Kalodimos was again voted Best Local Reporter and Best Local TV News Personality by the readers of the Nashville Scene. And immediately following her termination, Ms. Kalodimos was awarded her third Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Award, a national honor, for her work at Channel 4. The Tennessean reported that, after terminating Ms. Kalodimos, Channel 4 lost ten to twenty percent of its news viewership.
Background on Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, is a 80-plus attorney firm with offices in San Francisco, New York, and Nashville. Lieff Cabraser has represented employees in a wide variety of individual, #metoo, and class action cases, including on behalf of female Associates and Vice-Presidents in the certified gender discrimination class action currently pending against Goldman Sachs, Chen-Oster v. Goldman, Sachs & Co. The firm has served as class counsel in many of the most significant cases of the last several years, including the nationwide consumer fraud case, In re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Litigation, which resulted in consumer settlements valued at over $15 billion, and the Silicon Valley no-poaching case, In re High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, which resulted in settlements totaling $435 million. Lieff Cabraser represents the city of Nashville and other counties and municipalities throughout Tennessee and the United States against opioid manufactures and distributors in the In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL No. 2804.
More information on the firm can be found at lieffcabraser.com.