Ageism In Television News Media: Soc 315

996 words - 4 pages

In Mid-March of 2008, Michael Macklin filed suit at the Suffolk Superior Court in Massachusetts alleging that he was dismissed from WHDH-TV News due to age discrimination (Diaz, 2008). This paper will discuss the circumstances reported by Diaz, analyze the legal concerns as they relate to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act found in Code of Federal Regulations, Title 29, Chapter XIV (CFR 29§1625) and present my thoughts and beliefs on the subject.CircumstancesFactsIn 2007, after 13 years of as a news reporter for WHDH-TV, Michael Macklin was dismissed from employment. He started his tenure as a freelance reporter working 40-hours per week in 1994. In 1997, the NBC affiliate offered him a full-time staff position with benefits, which he turned down. The news director, Linda Miele, began cutting his hours back in January 2006 at the same time hiring several young reporters. When he questioned why this was happening, Ms. Miele indicated that she did not think he was an aggressive enough reporter and that he missed many elements in his reports that the competing news outlets did not. WHDH-TV has hired at least three young reporters, but still maintains a staff of four news anchors over the age of 40. Even as the suit was filed, a 40-plus year old anchor was replaced by a 27 year old, with the elder gentleman taking a less visible position. Additionally, in fall of 2007, a 37 year old female reporter was replaced by a 27 year old female. The station submits that they move personnel around in a measure to continual improve their product (Diaz, 2008).Allegations and Mitigating FactorsMacklin alleges that he was fired after complaining "that he was discriminated against because of his age" (Diaz, 2008). Although this very well may be the case, WHDH News is known for hiring younger reporters, something that does not necessarily follow established norms in a market like that found in Boston. Management claims that this is purely a business decision (Diaz, 2008).Foundations in LawThe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provided the catalyst to the courts for the establishment of numerous areas of law, to include discrimination based on among many things, age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was passed by Congress in 1967 after failing to receive support three years earlier to make employment discrimination based on age unlawful (EEOC Website, 2008). The act was placed into law under the United States Code of Federal Regulations, CFR29§1625. Specifically, CFR29§1625.2 states:"It is unlawful in situations where this Act applies, for an employer to discriminate in hiring or in any other way by giving preference because of age between individuals 40 and over. Thus, if two people apply for the same position, and one is 42 and the other 52, the employer may not lawfully turn down either one on the basis of age, but must make such decision on the basis of some other factor"...

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