Texas CBS station slapped with age discrimination fine

Dallas CBS station KTVT will pay $215,000 to a freelance traffic reporter who was passed over for a job because of her age.
(Image: ViacomCBS / Graphic: The Desk)

A CBS station in Texas has been ordered to pay a $215,000 in restitution restitution to a freelance worker who was refused a full-time job at the station.

On Tuesday, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said Dallas CBS station KTVT (Channel 11) committed age discrimination during its screening and hiring process for a full-time traffic reporter.

Tammy Campbell, 48, worked for KTVT in an interim capacity when she applied for the reporting position in 2014. A job ad associated with the position said the ideal candidate had at least 5 years of on-air experience and a strong understanding of local traffic patterns in the Dallas and Fort Worth metropolitan areas.

Campbell checked all those boxes and then some. Despite this, KTVT made an offer to 27-year-old applicant. That applicant accepted the offer, only to later withdraw from the job. KTVT then made an offer to a 24-year-old NFL cheerleader whose experience didn’t meet the criteria for the job, the EEOC said.

Campbell filed a complaint with the EEOC. The agency sued in federal court, alleging KTVT violated the Age Discrimination Act of 1967. That law prohibits businesses from discriminating against people who are over the age of 40.

“Tammy Campbell was clearly qualified for the position of traffic reporter,” Joel Clark, a senior trial attorney for the EEOC, said in a statement. “The EEOC argued to the court that CBS 11 preferred a younger, less qualified applicant, and that the employer defaulted to unfounded stereotypes about female reporters.”

The lawsuit named KTVT, sister-station KTXA (Channel 21) and CBS Stations Group of Texas as defendants. CBS Stations Group of Texas is a local subsidiary of ViacomCBS, the parent company of KTVT, KTXA and more than two dozen other local CBS and CW broadcast stations.

Earlier this month, KTVT agreed to settle the case for $215,000. In a consent decree signed by a federal judge on Monday, KTVT will also post notices about employee rights throughout its office, provide age discrimination training to staff and report regularly to the EEOC on its compliance with the settlement.

“We hope that the resolution of this case will be another step forward in moving past ageist attitudes that can limit opportunities in the field of broadcast television,” Robert Canino, a regional attorney with EEOC, said in a statement.

The case is EEOC v. CBS Stations Group of Texas et. al., civil action no. 3:17-cv-02624.

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