NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A longtime Tennessee news anchor is suing her former employer over alleged age and gender discrimination, saying management replaced her with a younger woman before abruptly firing her late last year.
A lawsuit filed in federal court on Wednesday says Nashville’s WSMV-TV management first tried to force Demetria Kalodimos out by creating a hostile work environment.
For example, in July 2015 she approached a producer about changes to a script, and the producer responded by attacking her ability to attract viewers, the lawsuit said. When she complained to the news director, he told the entire newsroom that a younger woman would replace Kalodimos as the 6 p.m. anchor, the lawsuit said.
WSMV-TV General Manager Dale Woods did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday afternoon.
According to the suit, in the 2 ½ years before Kalodimos was fired, seven other employees over 40 years old were replaced with younger employees. In that period, Kalodimos wrote two letters to management detailing what she considered to be discrimination at the station, but it took no action, the lawsuit said.
The conflict came to a head in Nov. 2017 when former co-workers named Kalodimos as a witness in their own age-discrimination lawsuit. Much of the publicity surrounding that suit focused on Kalodimos, who was still an anchor.
A week later, Kalodimos was fired. She was 58 at the time.
Kalodimos worked for the station for nearly 34 years, and her accolades include 16 Emmy awards and two Edward R. Murrow awards for investigative reporting, according to the suit.
Attorney Kenny Byrd, who represents Kalodimos, said in a news release that WSMV-TV and its parent company Meredith Corporation “have a culture of discarding women once they reach a certain age as if women have some expiration date. And this culture led directly to the termination and vilification of Demetria Kalodimos in way that affected her income, reputation, career, and future earning potential.”
Meredith declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Kalodimos is seeking unspecified damages.