CBS, technicians settle sex lawsuit

The Associated Press
Thursday October 26, 2000

CBS Inc. agreed to settle a class-action sex discrimination lawsuit involving some 200 women technicians for $8 million, attorneys said Wednesday. 

The agreement, which must be approved by a federal judge, also includes changes in how CBS handles job training and overtime opportunities, said Susan Stokes, one of the attorneys representing the women. 

The lawsuit, filed in 1996, accused CBS of discriminating against its female technical employees at television stations in Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and Green Bay, Wis. Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Donavan Frank approved the case as a class action. 

The women claimed they were denied assignments, promotions, overtime and training and were forced to work in a sexually hostile work environment. 

CBS admitted no liability or wrongdoing in the settlement, Stokes said. 

A CBS spokesman did not immediately return a phone call. 

“We’re very pleased with it,” Stokes said of the agreement, which will go before a federal judge for preliminary approval Nov. 17. Final approval isn’t expected until January. “It provides a lot of important changes that will help make the playing fields level for everyone.” 

As part of the agreement, CBS must post open positions and training opportunities and set up a mechanism for technicians to express interest in working overtime or on certain assignments, Stokes said.  

The women in the class will get additional training “to make up for what’s been denied them in the past,” she said, and CBS will change its equal employment opportunity policy and complaint procedures. 

CBS’ compliance will be monitored for four years. 

The amount of money each woman will receive will be based on length of service and the type of claim, Stokes said. An average figure wasn’t available. 

In November 1999, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determined that CBS had discriminated against female technicians at its stations. CBS has denied allegations about condoning a hostile and discriminatory workplace.