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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

KPIX-TV Reporters Weren't Fired for Being Middle-Aged, Court Rules

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Equal opportunity cost cutters
  • Equal opportunity cost cutters

San Francisco's KPIX-TV did not discriminate against two veteran news reporters when it terminated them nearly four years ago, the Ninth Circuit Court ruled today.

The three-person panel decided that William

Schechner and John Lobertini didn't to prove that they were targeted during company layoffs in 2008 because of their age. At the time, Schechner was 66 and Lobertini was 47.

While the two provided stats showing a trend of older newsroom employees suffering the most during budget cuts that year, a federal judge disagreed, saying the data wasn't enough to prove "a stark pattern of


Today, the three-judge appellate affirmed that decision, but for different reasons.

Although there were some obvious age disparities between those who were laid off and those who were kept in the newsroom, the court decided that KPIX offered a sound enough defense: Those with contracts that expired earlier were laid off first.

And since both Schechner and Lobertini had

been offered contract renewals not long before the layoffs, their discrimination argument didn't stand, the panel found. Schechner signed a

two-year contract in 2004, when he was 64 years old, while Lobertini signed a

similar two-year contract when he was 46 -- less two years before losing

his job.

Schechner, and Lobertini were two of 14 employees laid-off in March 2008 as the CBS affiliate struggled to cut costs.

Hat Tip: Courthouse News

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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