(CN) – CBS Broadcasting did not discriminate against two on-air reporters because of their ages, a federal in San Francisco ruled.
William Schechner, 66, and John Lobertini, 47, were fired from San Francisco news station KPIX in March 2008 following a CBS-issued mandate requiring KPIX to cut annual expenses by 10 percent.
Schechner and Lobertini claimed that all five on-air employees who were laid off were older males.
Schechner, a former weekend morning anchor, claimed that a pattern of discrimination against older reporters led to their firings. He said KPIX vice president and news director Daniel Rosenheim replaced him in 2005 with a 39-year-old, calling Schechner’s performance “lackluster.”
U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel dismissed the claims, finding the reporters’ evidence “insufficient.”
“Despite plaintiffs’ protestations to the contrary, the word ‘lackluster’ is not generally used as a synonym for ‘old,'” she wrote.
Patel was similarly unconvinced by Schechner and Lobertini’s statistical evidence that only older employees were targeted for layoffs, finding their expert report did not account for CBS’ firing of employees whose contracts expired earliest.
“Plaintiffs have failed to present any other evidence that independently or viewed in tandem with the statistical analysis, could give rise to an inference of age discrimination,” Patel wrote.