Black Employees Suing CNN for Racial Discrimination

DeWayne Walker

A group of current and former black employees of CNN cable news network, Turner Broadcasting, and parent company Time Warner have filed a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination, a report says.

The class-action suit was filed after an earlier case involving CNN employee DeWayne Walker was filed, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“As a result of the current discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of DeWayne Walker vs. CNN, Time Warner & Turner, we have uncovered stories involving abuse of power, nepotism, revenge, retaliation and discrimination,” attorney Daniel Meachum said in a press release announcing the lawsuit.

Walker, who has worked for 13 years at CNN as an integrated marketing manager, had filed a previous lawsuit alleging that the network repeatedly passed him over for promotion because he is black. He also claimed that CNN retaliated against him for filing a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The employee is demanding $50 million in damages.

Only two employees are named as plaintiffs in the class-action case: Celeslie Henley, a former executive administrative assistant at CNN, and Ernest Colbert Jr., a senior manager at Turner Broadcasting Systems. But Meachum alleges that up to 30 other insiders helped them gather information on the “company-wide pattern and practice” of discrimination that he claims has gone on for at least 20 years.

Meachum claims that internal practices show “disproportionately lower scores on evaluations” for blacks, especially black males, and that black employees are fired at a higher rate than white employees. The suit further alleges that blacks have also been forced to endure racial slurs.

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

Both plaintiffs claim that white co-workers were constantly given pay raises and promotions, while they labored at lower pay rates and positions despite doing the same jobs as their more favored co-workers.

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