I know the word is out there by now that I have filed a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) concerning my employment at Fox 61. All I can say is that this has been a difficult decision for me and comes with great sadness after 14 years at the station. I also recognize that the timing of the complaint is unfortunate because we have all just endured such a terrible loss at the station regarding the murder of our beloved co-worker Alice Morrin. But Alice always said I was a “strong woman” and now I have to be as strong as I can be because not only is my livelihood at stake, but my daughter’s future as well.
I am doing this for my daughter as well as the other women at the television station both young and “old”. I do not in any way see this as a case of of “us” versus “them.” It is quite the contrary. I have come to think of the younger women at the station as friends and truly care about them. What is happening to me, is, by no means, their fault.
It’s just that, one day, they too will also be older and perhaps, mothers as well, and may not be considered “sexy enough.” The simple truth is that such issues should not be considered negative factors in a workplace – whether it is a factory or a television news organization.
For now, that is all I can say. For any other information or comments, please contact my attorneys Elizabeth Conklin and Gregg Adler at the firm of LIVINGSTON, ADLER, PULDA, MEIKLEJOHN & KELLY at 557 Prospect Avenue in Hartford, (860) 570-4627, www.lapm.org.
Veteran Reporter Files Age Discrimination Complaint
by Christine Stuart
A veteran political reporter at Fox 61 filed an age and gender discrimination complaint with the Connecticut Human Rights and Opportunities Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Tuesday.
Shelly Sindland, 40, who has been a reporter at the station for more than 14 years, alleges in the complaint that the station has engaged in a pattern of discrimination against older women at the station by demoting those over the age of 35 and paying some of the female reporters less than the male reporters.
The complaint “speaks for itself,” Elizabeth Conklin from the law firm of Livingston, Adler, Pulda, Meiklejohn, and Kelly said Tuesday afternoon. Conklin said once a complaint like this is filed the commission has more than 200 days to investigate and depending on the outcome of the investigation it may then become a lawsuit.
The complaint alleges that the station as recently as June 19 offered Sindland a contract which will decrease her salary by 18 percent or $13,000. In addition the station only offered to renew the contract for one year, not the traditional three year contract she had received in the past. According to the complaint, one male reporter was offered three years around the same time period.
The detailed, 18-page complaint alleges a pattern of age and gender discrimination within the Fox 61 organization.
“Big Boob Fridays”
According to the complaint, in January 2009 Laurie Perez, 38, was removed as weekend anchor and replaced by Sarah French, 23. During a meeting with reporters and anchors Jan. 30, 2009, Fox 61 New Director Bob Rockstroh stated that the Friday newscasts looked like “Big Boob Fridays,” and the station’s ratings were up as a result of at least one female reporter wearing a tighter shirt. According to the complaint, then-General Manager Rich Graziano stated, “Hey, whatever works.”