By: E&P Staff
A group of former employees at The Dallas Morning News is suing the paper alleging age discrimination during a wave of 250 job cuts that occurred in 2004.
Eighteen people who worked in the newsroom, circulation, and IT departments at the paper claimed executives pushed them out in favor of younger hires, according to a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on Tuesday.
In addition, plaintiff Jan Michael Hubbard alleged that Dallas Morning News? parent company Belo shorted his severance package — the paper said the amount was based on each year of service at Belo — and is seeking to recover $9,200.
?We believe the complaint is without merit and intend to defend against it vigorously,? said Cary Hendrickson, vice president of corporate communications at Belo.
The group claims that executives at the Morning News were looking to restructure the paper, including a more intense focus on local and regional news and younger and wealthier readers. Positions that were eliminated were actually given to younger people, the filing alleged.
?The environment at [the Morning News] became hostile for many employees over age 40, some of whom became the subject of derogatory comments based on their ages, made by younger managers; some were targeted in reviews by the younger managers, including older employees with medical problems, as [the Morning News] began to focus on hiring younger writers, editors, and artists,? according to the document.
Plaintiffs said they were singled out because they were deemed ?inflexible and unable to adapt to new technology or to assume multiple job responsibilities,? according to the document.