Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

Another Turner employee sues for racial discrimination

Posted Tuesday, January 23, 2018 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

An attorney who had a racial discrimination class-action lawsuit against Turner Broadcasting thrown out last year by a federal judge has re-filed a new one with a new plaintiff.

Although it's been cited as a "class action complaint," only one plaintiff  is attached to it: a TBS employee Wanda Byrd in a case filed in the United States District Court of the Northern District of Georgia on January 18.

Other defendants are Time Warner, CNN and Turner Services.

The basic gist of the lawsuit is that African-American mid-level managers at TBS have a significantly more difficult time moving up the ranks compared to white ones. This is a similar basis for the class-action suit filed in 2016 which featured plaintiffs Celeslie Henley, a former executive administrative assistant at CNN, and Ernest Colbert Jr., a senior manager at TBS.

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The lawsuit blamed a performance evaluation system which provides white managers "undue authority to make biased and inconsistent determinations with little or no oversight and/or feedback. The system permits discrimination on the basis of race in evaluations, where raises, bonuses as well as further advancement within the Company, are based."

It also alleges, based on data provided by TBS, that blacks at comparable jobs to whites get paid significantly less. The suit also claims it takes three times longer for a black employee to receive any kind of promotion vs. a white employee. It also says very few black employees at TBS ever reach senior levels.

The lawsuit cited a black senior ad director creating a $20 million franchise but was not promoted to a vice president position over a white person. While white employees received bonuses, the lawsuit alleges, this person only received a pat on the back.

Byrd, 54, has worked for TBS for 13 years, first as a quality assurance analyst, then as a quality assurance consultant. The lawsuit said she was passed over for more than 30 promotions, often over less qualified candidates. She filed a complaint with the EEOC in March, 2017.

Daniel Meachum, the attorney representing Byrd, had filed the original 2016 class action discrimination suit against Turner, but the case was thrown out by a judge last year.

I haven't heard back yet from CNN, Turner or parent company Time Warner but in the past, the company has been pretty mum on these lawsuits.

Here are other cases filed in recent years:

2016 Omar Butcher

2015 Ricky Blalock

2014 Stanley Wilson


About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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