Current and former black employees of CNN joined together to file a lawsuit against the news network, Turner Broadcasting, and it's parent company Time Warner on Tuesday over allegations of racial discrimination.
Daniel Meachum, an Atlanta-based attorney, filed the class-action lawsuit on behalf of the group. Meachum said he had been collecting information for three years on CNN and Turner, a division of Time Warner, regarding discrimination against black employees before filing the lawsuit.
About 20 to 30 current and former employees of CNN and TBS, which is owned by Time Warner, provided information to help file the suit in Georgia this week. The lawsuit alleges that CNN discriminated against male black employees regarding job promotions and wages, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
"This discrimination represents a company-wide pattern and practice," the lawsuit asserts, "rather than a series of isolated incidents." He said the company has been discriminating against blacks for more than 20 years.
The 40-page lawsuit filed in the United States District Court in the Northern District of Georgia, said blacks–especially black males–are discriminated against in evaluations, compensation, and promotions. Blacks receive "disproportionately lower scores on evaluations," the lawsuit alleges.
It says based on data provided by Turner, blacks are terminated at a higher rate than whites. And the lawsuit said written and unwritten policies and practices for performing evaluations and promotions discriminate against blacks.
"Upon information and belief," the suit says, "African-American employees have had to endure racial slurs and prejudicial biases from superiors such as, ‘it's hard to manage black people' and ‘who would be worth more: black slaves from times past or new slaves.'"
Celeslie Henley, a plaintiff in the suit, worked at CNN for seven years and accuses the news organization of discriminating against her based on race, gender, and pregnancy. In the suit, Henley details how she was fired and brought her complaints to the Human Resources department.
The Journal-Constitution noted that CNN president Jeff Zucker refused to comment on the recently filed lawsuit.