Former CBS46 anchor Mike Dunston files discrimination lawsuit

He claims age, race and gender discrimination
Mike Dunston has filed a discrimination lawsuit against his former employer, CBS46. Photo: Courtesy of CBS46

Credit: CBS46

Credit: CBS46

Mike Dunston has filed a discrimination lawsuit against his former employer, CBS46. Photo: Courtesy of CBS46

Former CBS46 anchor Mike Dunston has filed a broad-based lawsuit against his former employer alleging race, sex and age discrimination, among other accusations.

CBS46 is owned by Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith Corp., which owns 17 TV stations and magazines such as People and Entertainment Weekly.

Dunston worked at CBS46 from 2015 until May of last year. He was a reporter and fill-in anchor. (He also made amusing appearances as a fake anchor on the first season of TBS’s show “Miracle Workers” starring Daniel Ratcliffe in 2019.)

The lawsuit, filed in Fulton County Superior Court this week, said that despite “stellar reviews” from his bosses, Dunston was “never afforded auditions or interviews and was passed over several times even though he requested to be considered for open positions” for primary anchor spots.

He claimed that the news director at the time Steve Doerr was seeking only white males, not Black males for particular positions he was seeking. While Dunston was there, two white male anchors were hired for evening jobs: Thomas Roberts, followed by Rick Folbaum, who is currently the primary male evening anchor.

Dunston said four times, when he requested to pair up with a male anchor, three different news directors refused. The lawsuit also said management gave younger and less experienced employees anchor opportunities over Dunston, who is over 40 and has 25 years of experience in broadcasting.

He said after he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Doerr began harassing him and deprived Dunston of contractually obligated career consultations with the talent coach. He also said his contract was terminated six weeks early in May of 2020 without cause.

Doerr, who was news director at the station for two and a half years, left CBS46 in early 2019 for a general manager job for Meredith in New England.

Meredith released this statement in response: “Meredith and WGCL-TV/CBS46 strongly disagree with these allegations. We will vigorously defend ourselves against them.”

Dunston is now working with Spectrum News in Charlotte, North Carolina.

A discrimination suit filed in 2019 by former CBS chief meteorologist Paul Ossmann is still pending. He accused the station of race discrimination and a hostile work environment. The station said he was fired for cause regarding his treatment of female employees.