New York Post Harassment and Discrimination Lawsuit: Fired Editor Claims Hostile Work Environment

November 16, 2009

As California Labor and Employment Attorneys we have been following the lawsuit filed last week by a former senior editor for the New York Post, against Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, the New York Post, and the paper's editor in chief Col Allan--alleging harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, as well as unlawful employment practices.

Sandra Guzman, a journalist known for covering Latin American affairs, was allegedly fired her position of editor in October for failure to attract more Hispanic readership to the monthly in-paper insert, Tempo. Guzman claims that she was wrongly terminated in retaliation for speaking out about the controversial cartoon that the paper published in February of this year.

In the lawsuit, Guzman alleges that multiple editors knew that the potentially racist cartoon--an illustration that compared Barack Obama's stimulus package to a chimpanzee shot dead by police--was offensive yet failed stop the cartoon from being published.

Guzman originally complained about the cartoon internally and claims that she was ignored--yet her email was leaked publicly. She alleges in the suit that after standing up for discrimination, she was retaliated against by Post management, and her job became increasingly difficult until she was wrongfully terminated.

Sandra Guzman describes the New York Post newsroom as a sexist, racist, offensive workplace environment, where she and staff members were regularly subjected misogynistic behavior. She alleges that hiring practices at the paper are not built on merit, rather driven by racial prejudices.

Guzman listed graphic details in the lawsuit, describing sexually explicit and inappropriate comments made by editor-in-chief Col Allan, as well as senior editors--some of whom allegedly engaged in sexual practices against company policy, and offered female reporter jobs in exchange for sexual favors. Guzman claimed she was often called "Cha Cha No. 1" and was routinely taunted with the West Side Story theme song--sung with a Spanish accent by a white colleague, making fun of her Puerto Rican descent.

According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is illegal to discriminate against an employee on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, or religion. It is also a direct violation of the law to retaliate against an employee because the worker complained about discrimination, filed a discrimination charge, or was involved in an employment discrimination lawsuit.

Guzman's lawsuit was filed in response to her firing--for declaratory, injunctive and equitable relief, as well as monetary damages for the unlawful employment practices, discrimination, retaliation that Guzman endured, due to her race, color, national origin, and gender. Guzman accuses the Post of creating a hostile work environment for female employees and employees of color--filled with constant discrimination and unlawful harassment based on gender, race, color and national origin.

In the suit Guzman also claims that the controversial cartoon was part of a concerted effort by the Post to prevent Barack Obama from succeeding as president. Following public response to the cartoon, Murdoch was forced to apologize for the cartoon.

If you or someone you know in Orange County or throughout Southern California has experienced sexual harassment, race-based discrimination, wrongful termination or retaliation in the workplace, our experienced team of Anaheim-based Labor & Employment Attorneys can help find a solution for your recovery. Call Howard Law, PC today, for a free consultation at 1-800-872-5925.

Sandra Guzman Sues the Post, New York Magazine, November 11, 2009

Former New York Post Editor Claims Discrimination in Lawsuit, The Guardian, November 11, 2009

New York Post Lawsuit: Shocking Allegations Made By Fired Employee Sandra Guzman, The Huffington Post, November 11, 2009

New York Post Editor Sandra Guzman Files Lawsuit Over Firing, Daily News, November 10, 2009

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC)

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (EEOC)