Vicky Gutierrez was a reporter for LA’s local KVEA Telemundo TV station for nine years. During that time she received a nomination for an Emmy Award for her work as a reporter/anchor and received positive annual reviews of her contributions to the news team’s success.
Earlier this year, Gutierrez was “laid off” – according to the station – but the veteran reporter has recently filed a lawsuit alleging she was wrongfully terminated because of her age. The station promptly replaced Gutierrez with a younger reporter, aiming to appeal to a younger audience and on whom the station could spend substantially less in payroll, according to the age discrimination in employment lawsuit.
Gutierrez also claims that the Spanish-language station wrongfully retaliated against her for complaining about workplace conditions. A complaint was filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) in June for wrongful termination, age discrimination and retaliation.
California Protections For Workers 40+
Workers over 40 in California are protected from age discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). When an employee over age 40 is replaced by a younger employee, the terminated employee may have a case for age discrimination.
California courts have also recognized that terminating a higher salaried employee to hire someone at a lower rate may also be evidence of age discrimination. Older employees tend to be most affected by these ‘cost-cutting strategies’ because of their longer employment histories, often with the same company, that have lead to merit- or performance-based increases over the course of a career.
In her lawsuit, Gutierrez alleges that she was one of the oldest and highest paid individuals at KVEA Telemundo.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter, “Former Telemundo Reporter Sues Claiming Age Discrimination,” August 1, 2012