A fired television station worker has sued Houston station KRIV, claiming that he was a victim of age discrimination.
Charles Hobson was employed by KRIV from 1990 to 2011 as a live truck operator, staff photographer and editor. According to Hobson, the station fired him because of his age. Fox Television Stations, Inc., Fox Entertainment Group and News Corp. are also named in the lawsuit.
Hobson claims that in 2009 he suddenly began receiving negative comments in his employment evaluations, as well as vague negative verbal remarks, after having received only positive or neutral comments in the 19 years previous. The complaint alleges that the station’s news director inserted negative remarks into Hobson’s evaluation without the input of his immediate supervisor. Hobson also said he was blamed for errors that were actually the result of inclement weather or computer breakdowns. Hobson claims he was the oldest or one of the two oldest of the 18 station employees who had job descriptions similar to his.
According to the complaint, the station had begun downsizing, targeting employees who had been hired before 2004 and therefore had larger pension and benefit packages. Hobson sued under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects workers over 40 years old from discrimination, and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which among other things, prohibits interference with employee benefit plans.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiff demands a jury trial and asks for damages for loss of wages, emotional pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.