Fired Black Editor Sues People Magazine for Discrimination

Discriminatory practices in the workplace can impact the lowest paid minimum wage workers to high paid executives. There have been cases of discrimination in every industry, from manufacturing to law firms. Earlier this year, a black editor of People Magazine filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination. According to the complaint, the editor was the only black senior employee and alleged that her former boss left her out of magazines, dismissed stories centering around black victims and even disparaged her way of speaking, telling her that, “You’re not at Essence anymore.”

sadsillohetteAccording to reports, the plaintiff has a degree in English and a Master’s in Journalism. In addition to her educational accomplishments, she also held an adjunct position at New York University. The complaint alleges that throughout her successful career, no other editors had a problem with her or her work. People Magazine and senior level editors systematically discriminated her for the way she spoke and communicated, and related it to her race. The lawsuit also alleges that the magazine had a discriminatory editorial policy. According to the complaint, the magazine is entirely run by white people and focuses exclusively on white celebrities and individuals.

The editor was fired last May during what the company called a “reduction in force,” though the plaintiff alleges that the termination was directly tied to her race. She is seeking financial damages against People Magazine as well as its parent company, Time Inc., as well as her supervisor and the former executive of the magazine. While many employment law and discrimination cases will settle out of court, the attorney for the plaintiff is hoping for a trial by jury to send a message to other media companies that they cannot discriminate against employees or when making decisions about which people to feature in their stories or articles.

The lawsuit goes further than just alleging discriminatory practices against the employee. The complaint alleges that the magazine maintains a culture of discrimination and fails to consider the black community. One analysis showed that of the 265 magazine covers since 2010, only 14 featured African-American individuals. Furthermore only three of the choices named “Most Beautiful’ persons since 1990 have been black. Court papers also allege that the senior level editors have racist attitudes that trickled down to how they treated employees.

Discrimination based on race or ethnicity is a violation of the federal Civil Rights Act and a violation of California laws. From discriminatory hiring practices to harassment, degradation, disparate treatment, and adverse actions, including demotion or firing, victims are entitled to take legal action against responsible individuals or entities. If you believe that you suffered discrimination or you were wrongfully terminated based on race our Orange County employment attorneys can help protect your rights. We will review the facts and evidence of your case, determine whether laws were violated, and take strategic approach to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

Employment lawsuits can be filed with assistance from the Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange County. Call 714-937-2020.

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