LOS ANGELES (CN) – A longtime copy editor for the Los Angeles Times sued Tribune Co. for age discrimination, claiming it fired him and 111 other people older than 40 in July, but only 27 people younger than 40, because of “a stereotypical belief that the staff over 40 and particularly over 50 was not capable of adjusting to an online news environment.”
John Gallant says his salary was “in the high 80s non-inclusive of benefits” when he was given the ax on July 14, effective July 18. He says he was hired in 1996, had a stellar record, and had “filled in for important positions such as City Editor”.
The Times has been roiled with controversy since it lost its top editors, who protested staff and news budget cuts, and the Chicago-based Tribune Co. bought it. Gallant also sued Los Angeles Times Communications in his Superior Court complaint.
Gallant claims, “Defendants’ highest ranking managerial agents, officers, and directors decided that the future of the L.A. Times is on-line. Persons, including the editor, had a stereotypical belief that the staff over 40 and particularly over 50 was not capable of adjusting to an online news environment. Plaintiff is informed and believes that Russ Stanton, the current editor of Defendants, actually had a meeting in which he told the young reporters – under 40 and 50 – that their jobs were secure. In addition, the copy desk had been hiring very young workers, people in their twenties. Persons over forty or fifth were not being hired. Plaintiff is further informed and believes that the persons who replaced the people over forty and fifty were substantially likely to be under thirty. … The older the worker was, the more likely they were to be adversely affected by being terminated because they had higher salaries, more seniority and experience at Defendants.”
He demands punitive damages for age discrimination, wrongful firing and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He is represented by Karl Gerber of Sherman Oaks.