Here are the results of a Google search of media outlets for news articles on the 50th anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), the federal law that prohibits consideration of age as a factor in hiring and employment. The search was conducted on mid-day Friday, the very day that Congress passed the ADEA 50 years ago.
When the full name of the ADEA was spelled out, there was one result – a link to a 21-hour old video message by EEOC Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic.
In short, the 50th anniversary of the ADEA went uncelebrated and ignored by the major media in the United States, which should not come as a complete surprise.
According to Forbes, 15 billionaires own America’s media companies and many have been or are currently defendants in age discrimination lawsuits. It appears that treating older workers with respect and dignity and avoiding age discrimination is not high on their agenda.
Here are a couple of examples of how our nation’s top media outlets are is dealing with aging workers:
- The Washington Post
The Washington Post reportedly settled an race and age discrimination lawsuit in August (on the eve of trial) by a veteran advertising department salesperson, David DeJesus, 59, who was abruptly fired in 2011 after 20 years of employment.
According to Court documents, “Other employees shared DeJesus’s perception, testifying that since 2008, ‘the management philosophy at the [Washington] Post was downsizing, attrition, eliminating and replacing older employers, offering buyouts, and forcing people out.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit refused to dismiss DeJesus’ lawsuit. The Court cited testimony by a former employee “who described four specific instances in which top-level management purportedly ‘forced out’ older employees due to their age…. Another former employee identified two departments in which management ‘[got] rid of excellent older employees in order to put younger people in[.]’ …. She explained that, “if you were 40+ years old, [t]he [Washington] Post made sure you were leaving.”
The Washington Post was acquired by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, 53, in 2013.
- The New York Times
The New York Times has been sued for age discrimination several times, including last summer by Robert Stolarik, 48, who was allegedly mis-classified as a “full-time freelancer” for more than a decade despite the fact that he worked almost full-time for the Times.
According to Bloomberg Law, the Times refused to hire Stolarik in a full-time position, while hiring a less qualified applicants, and denied Stolarik health and pension benefits and overtime.
From 2004 to 2012, the lawsuit states, “Stolarik worked full-time for the Times, generally being on more than 250 days per year, often working eight hours a day and more than 40 hours a week.” Stolarik was told “on numerous occasions by various editors that he was too old to get hired into the position of staff photography.”
The Times reportedly settled a 2015 age, gender and race discrimination lawsuit in which digital advertising executive Tracy Quitasol, 51, who was fired in 2014, alleged the Times engaged in a downsizing in 2013 in which it let go predominantly older and minority employees.
In 2016, the Times was again sued for age, race and gender discrimination by two advertising employees —Ernestine Grant, 62, and Marjorie Walker, 61, who are black. They alleged the workplace is “has become an environment rife with discrimination based on age, race, and gender.” Among other things, they alleged that Meredith Levien, the company’s chief revenue officer, “made it clear that she wanted a workforce with ‘fresh faces’ populated by ‘people who look like the people we are selling to.”
The publisher of The New York Times is Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., 66, who is also chairperson of The New York Times Company.
- Rupurt Murdoch
What can you say about Rupurt Murdoch, 86, who owns an international media empire that includes Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Post? His holdings are dealing with multiple sexual harassment, race discrimination and age discrimination lawsuits. He is notorious for disregarding workers’ rights.