- Five cable news anchorwomen between the ages of 40 and 61 are suing NY1, claiming that the station is discriminating against them on the basis of their age and sex (Torre v. Charter Communications, Inc., No. 1:19-cv-05708 (S.D.N.Y. June 19, 2019)).
- The plaintiffs' complaint, which states they have "received dozens of awards, honors and accolades for their excellence in journalism," alleges that a 2016 restructuring resulted in the layoffs of approximately 40 longtime NY1 employees over the age of 40. Although the plaintiffs kept their jobs, they said the work environment has become increasingly hostile, with opportunities for younger journalists coming at the expense of older talent and "diminish[ing] Plaintiffs' roles across the board."
- The plaintiffs also claim that station management is "grooming" younger replacements that track each of their appearances, including hair color and ethnic backgrounds. Some of these younger reporters have allegedly been given choice assignments that used to belong to the plaintiffs.
Employers run into problems when they pay lip service to diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts that lack a solid legal or cultural footing. One recent example occurred when NASA planned an all-female spacewalk but failed to secure the correct number of appropriately sized spacesuits, forcing the cancellation of the spacewalk.
Similarly, hiring a chief diversity officer (CDO) is not itself sufficient to produce lasting change. A recent study of workplace diversity leaders concluded that many D&I initiatives weren't properly aligned with business priorities, and many of the CDOs failed to obtain needed resources and support from their organizations.
What's involved in bringing real change in this area to a workplace? The most successful CDOs, according to the study, use analytics to maintain D&I as a priority and establish key performance indicators; influence positive behavior and change across their organizations; communicate well both internally and externally; and are "pragmatic disruptors" who question the status quo to create equal opportunities.
A healthy bottom line is linked to advocacy for D&I training initiatives. Employers that have experienced financial growth during the past year are 72% more likely to advocate strongly for diversity and inclusion (D&I) training, according to a recent report. Another study found that LGBTQ executives are less likely than non-LGBTQ executives to say their organizations prioritize attracting and developing diverse talent.