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Detroit Free Press; Image Courtesy of wemu.org

Fox News and CNN aren’t the only news outlets under fire for discriminating against employees. Yesterday, four female employees of the Detroit Free Press filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the newspaper and Gannet Co., it’s owner, alleging “they have systematically received lower pay than their similarly situated male peers.” Additionally, it also alleges that Gannet Co. and the Free Press “violated the federal Equal Pay Act and the state civil rights law, which bars gender discrimination, by disparately compensating women while they do equal work with the same skills as comparable men.”

The lawsuit itself was filed by civil rights lawyer, Deborah Gordon, who represents the four female employees: “Kathleen Galligan, a photographer; Mary Schroeder, photo editor; designer Rose Ann McKean; and Regina Boone, a photographer laid off in 2016.”

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Discrimination Definition; Image Courtesy of Kesluk, SIlverstein & Jacob, https://www.californialaborlawattorney.com

So why were the women paid less than their male counterparts? Was there really discrimination at play? Well, according to the lawsuit, “the differential…was not due to seniority, merit, quantity or quality of production, or a factor other than sex, but was due to gender.” Additionally, actual studies have been conducted that compare wages between male employees and female employees at the Detroit Free Press. For example, one study, compiled by the Newspaper Guild of Detroit, shows “the male median wage at the newspaper was higher than the female median wage in almost every analyzed category.” Just how much higher, though?

According to the study, “male photographers earn a median hourly wage $4.04 more than the median wage for women photographers. Male assistant editors earn a median wage $7.62 per hour more than the median wage for female assistant editors.”

The data used in the study was compiled between 2013 and 2015, so it’s still very relevant. In total, it found that men working at the Free Press “make a median wage of $37.56 per hour while women earn a median pay of $35.25 per hour in a newsroom that is 60 percent male.”

So what, if anything, has the Free Press or Gannet had to say for itself regarding the discrimination? Well, according to the four women, the organizations were “uninterested in resolving the pay disparities.” Peter Bhatia, Editor and Vice President, said: “The Detroit Free Press — which has a longstanding commitment to supporting equal employment opportunities for all employees — believes the claims asserted have no merit.”

For now, the women are “demanding an unspecified award for damages and court orders prohibiting further acts of wrongdoing or retaliation and policy changes in determining pay and evaluating performance.

Sources:

Women employees allege Free Press pays unequally based on gender

4 women sue Detroit Free Press in pay discrimination lawsuit

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