Current and Former Black Employees File Class-Action Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against CNN, Time Warner
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Current and Former Black Employees File Class-Action Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against CNN, Time Warner

Time Warner Center

Current and former black employees of Time Warner, owner of Turner networks including CNN, TNT and TBS, have filed a class-action racial discrimination suit against the company.

The lawsuit filed on Tuesday in the US District Court in the Northern District of Georgia alleges that, since the late 1990s, there has been a pattern of discrimination against blacks, particularly black males, in evaluations, compensation and promotions at CNN, as well as at its parent Turner, and Time Warner.

The suit claims that while African Americans make up 30 to 35% of employees in mid-level managerial and staffing positions at Turner and CNN, they are underrepresented at higher pay grades and in senior positions due to internal policies that ensure black employees aren’t promoted as often or to positions as high as their white co-employees.

“As a result, jobs are filled without being posted, candidates are handpicked in advance, and supervisors who make hiring decisions have implemented ‘preferred qualifications’ to mask the prejudicial preference in their candidate selection,” says attorney Daniel Meachum in the complaint.

In addition, the filing alleges that there are “glass walls” that segregate the company into divisions in which black leadership is acceptable, and divisions in which it is not.

“Upon information and belief, African American employees have had to endure racial slurs and prejudicial biases from their superiors such as, ‘it’s hard to manage black people’ and ‘who would be worth more: black slaves from times past, or new slaves,” writes Meachum.

According to the complaint, high-level officials at the company are aware of the problems but don’t act to fix them.

The plaintiffs are seeking lost wages and other damages.

CNN is already facing racial discrimination lawsuits previously filed by ex-producer Ricky Blalock, former producers Stanley Wilson and Omar Butcher, which have yet to go before the courts.

Spokespeople for CNN and Turner had no comment.

This class-action lawsuit comes as AT&T attempts to acquire Time Warner in a massive $85 billion deal – a sale that, as  expected, is facing much scrutiny.

A brief local video report on the new lawsuit follows below:

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