A former marketing and communications director for KYW Newsradio 1060 in Philadelphia has filed a discrimination complaint against the station’s parent company, alleging she endured pervasive sexual harassment and demeaning treatment from the time of her hiring in the spring of 2009 until her firing last summer.
Philadelphia attorneys Samuel M. First and Christopher D. Wagner, of the Jacobs Law Group, filed the discrimination complaint Dec. 23 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Shelley Kanther of Lawnside, N.J.
The defendants named in the civil action are CBS Radio, Inc. of New York, NY, and CBS Radio Inc. of Philadelphia.
The lawsuit claims that throughout her employment with CBS Philly, Kanther experienced “severe and pervasive sex discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation” in direct violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The suit also alleges that Kanther was subjected to disability discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
According to the complaint, Kanther, who was hired in April 2009 by CBS Philly in the position of director of marketing and communications for its radio station, KYW Newsradio 1060, repeatedly complained to the defendants, her supervisors, human resources representatives and other coworkers about the “highly offensive, discriminatory environment and culture at CBS Philly that she and other employees were subjected to, and was illegally terminated in retaliation for such complaints in direct violation of law.”
The suit also makes the claim that senior management officials at CBS Philly “participated, aided and abetted in the discriminatory treatment suffered by Ms. Kanther, and directly retaliated against her repeated complaints to management concerning illegal harassment and discrimination by illegally terminating her from employment.”
The lawsuit paints a picture of widespread sexual harassment at the company, alleging that Kanther’s male coworkers, on a near daily basis, subjected Kanter to “crude and outrageous taunting, offensive sexual touching, sexual comments and innuendos and hostility.”
Kanther did complain to management, but her complaints went unabated, the suit claims.
The suit claims that Kanther once complained about the discriminatory treatment to another female employee, who in turn told Kanther that the harassment was par for the course, and that “that’s always how it has been here.”
“Despite Ms. Kanter’s repeated complaints, no remedial action of any kind was ever taken,” according to the lawsuit.
The alleged harassment took the form of male coworkers guessing Kanther’s bra size, slapping her on the rear end, making comments about her body parts, saying that Kanther was probably “fiery in bed,” addressing her using pet names and making other disparaging remarks, the suit claims.
“The sexual harassment, sexually laced innuendos and comments were of a severe, pervasive and continuing nature, were degrading and extremely upsetting to Ms. Kanther and persisted unabated until she was illegally terminated on August 6, 2010, in retaliation for her numerous complaints to management,” the lawsuit states. “The CBS Philly management was well aware of the severe and pervasive sexual harassment in the workplace, but did nothing to stop it.”
The lawsuit claims that the harassment and discrimination caused Kanter to experience pain and suffering, anxiety, humiliation, physical injury, emotional distress, lost pay and benefits and other consequential and compensatory damages.
The lawsuit contains counts of sex discrimination and harassment, retaliation discrimination, disability discrimination and equal pay discrimination.
Kanther seeks declaratory judgment that the company engaged in sexual harassment discrimination, unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, liquidated damages, litigation costs and other court relief.
A jury trial has been demanded.
The federal case number is 2:11-cv-07835-TON.