Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Tammy Dombeck Wins $215,000 in Age Discrimination Lawsuit Against CBS Stations Group of Texas

I think Tammy looks gorgeous. I'm glad she won and can help CBS Stations Group get their act together on hiring women over the age of 27.

Betsy Combier
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CBS Stations Group of Texas to pay Tammy Dombeck $215,000, July 15, 2020

Former CBS11 KTVT Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex freelance traffic reporter Tammy Dombeck Campbell will be paid $215,000 and furnished "significant equitable relief" to settle a federal age discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced.

Here is more from the EEOC press release:

The EEOC charged that CBS violated federal law when it refused to hire Tammy Dombeck Campbell for a full-time traffic reporter position at the Dallas/Fort Worth station because of her age. The EEOC said that Campbell had worked for CBS 11 as a freelance, non-staff traffic reporter.

When the station’s morning full-time traffic reporter resigned in October 2014, the company initiated a search for a replacement. The CBS job announcement stated that “the ideal candidate” would have a strong knowledge of local traffic in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and that the “applicant must have at least five years professional broadcasting experience.” The EEOC said that CBS 11 hired a 24-year-old applicant for the full-time traffic reporter position. The younger applicant was a former NFL cheerleader, and the EEOC maintained that the she did not meet the hiring criteria CBS had advertised. CBS 11 also had made an offer to a 27-year old applicant who accepted and then withdrew from the hiring process.

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which prohibits discrimination against people age 40 or older. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. CBS Stations Group of Texas; Television Station KTXA and KTVT-TV, Civil Action No. 3:17-cv-02624) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the consent decree signed by U.S. District Chief Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn, resolving the suit, CBS Stations Group of Texas will pay will pay $215,000 to Ms. Campbell and commits not to engage in age discrimination. The company will also provide training on the ADEA, publish a notice of employee rights, and report to the EEOC on its compliance with the requirements of consent decree.

“Tammy Campbell was clearly qualified for the position of traffic reporter,” said Joel Clark, EEOC senior trial attorney for the Dallas District Office. “The EEOC argued to the court that CBS 11 preferred a younger, less qualified applicant, and that the employer defaulted to unfounded stereotypes about female reporters.”

EEOC Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino added, “In explaining its decision, the company relied on what was called the ‘it’ factor. The EEOC was prepared to prove that, for Ms. Campbell, ‘it’ was her age. We hope that the resolution of this case will be another step forward in moving past ageist attitudes that can limit opportunities in the field of broadcast television.”

An exclusive interview with former CBS11 traffic anchor Tammy Dombeck and her EEOC attorneys, who are taking the station to court on charges of age discrimination (2017)

According to her bio, Dombeck has covered DFW traffic on the radio for such stations as KLIF, KPLX, KZPS, and KKDA. In addition to TV news traffic on KTVT, she also covered it for NBC 5 KXAS in Dallas for 12 years.

UPDATE JULY 17, 2020
KTVT released a statement on the settlement to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram which said, “We are pleased this matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.”

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
The ADEA forbids discrimination on the basis of age against employees and applicants who are 40 years old or older. Even though the federal anti-discrimination law has been in place for many years, age discrimination remains a problem in the workplace, experts say. A recent AARP investigation found that ageism at work is widespread; more than a fifth of employees over age 40 in a Hiscox Ageism in the Workplace Study said they had experienced age discrimination in the workplace.

Several employers have settled claims of age bias in hiring recently. Earlier this year, PwC agreed to pay $11.6 million and change its recruiting practices to settle a claim that its targeting of recent college grads amounted to age discrimination. Norfolk Southern Corp., a freight hauler, likewise agreed to pay $350,000 in February to settle an EEOC age discrimination lawsuit alleging the freight transportation company refused to hire qualified individuals over the age of 51 for railway security positions.

Compliance with the ADEA can start with recruitment efforts, stakeholders say. When designing plans that attract a diverse pool of candidates, employers can include age in their inclusion strategies. Avoiding terms such as "established" or "digital native" can help, sources previously told HR Dive. It's worth noting, too, that experts say recruiting heavily based on social media can disproportionately attract younger applicants.

Employers can reduce discriminatory employment decisions in hiring, promotion, and assignment by establishing written criteria tied to business needs for evaluating candidates and consistently applying the requirements to all candidates, the EEOC has said.

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