Fox Sports Sued for Using COVID as a “Mask” for Age Discrimination
Nine former workers at Fox Sports have sued the network for using COVID as a front for age discrimination. In the 21-page complaint, the workers claim that they were told to stay at home due to pandemic-related office closures and then left in limbo for over a year, not knowing whether their jobs were secure.
Older Workers Sent Home and Shunned
According to a Law360 article, the nine ex-workers range from 49 to 80 years old and had worked in Fox’s graphic department for years. As a group, they had worked a total of 190 years for Fox and won Emmy Awards for their contributions to the network’s ascent. When COVID broke out, however, Fox sent these loyal workers home in the name of public health. For the next year and three months, Fox repeatedly assured them that it was working to bring them back. The plaintiffs sat dutifully by, taking the company’s reassurances at face value and passing up on other job opportunities. Meanwhile, the network hired, called back, and promoted younger employees to replace their older counterparts.
In its defense, Fox claimed that it needed workers with new skill sets to accommodate changing business needs. The plaintiffs countered that the job requirements for their positions remained the same between the time they were sent home and when some employees returned to the office.
Aftermath of the Alleged Ageism
The plaintiffs further allege that Fox’s plan to eliminate older workers from its staff began even before the outbreak of the pandemic. The workers track the origins of this purported age discrimination back to 2017, when the network isolated a group of older graphic artists in a small room apart from the rest of the department, where they started to be assigned more “grunt work” and less desirable projects.
Natasha Chesler, who is representing the aggrieved workers, told Law360 that her clients deserved better. “We forget that so much of our identity becomes tied to our jobs; it’s where you go every day, the same people you see, and it colors your whole world,” Chesler said. “To work somewhere for your whole career and be treated that way at the end, especially at a time during a global pandemic where life is already uncertain, and to have this added was an extreme blow. These are Emmy Award-winning artists who worked hard and deserve better and hopefully, we can get them some justice.”
Seek Legal Assistance
If you have faced age discrimination at work or believe you have been wrongfully terminated, seek legal assistance from the employment lawyers at the Working Solutions Law Firm, located in New York City and in Livingston, New Jersey. Contact us today at (201) 817-9650 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.