Lawsuit Against Indianapolis Star Will Go to Trial

by Gabe Bullard on January 5, 2012

An age discrimination suit against the Indianapolis Star will go to trial.

Judge Richard Young ordered the case to trial last month, but unsealed the records this week. (Read the records here.)

The plaintiff in the case is Susan Guyett. She created the paper’s “Talk of Our Town” society column and wrote it until 2008, when she was laid off at age 59. The layoff was part of a series of firings in the newspaper chain Gannett, which also owns the Courier-Journal.

Guyett claims she was told at the time that the paper was eliminating her column, however, a 39-year-old reporter took her place. Attorneys argue that the layoff goes against the seniority provision in the reporters’ collective bargaining agreement. Further, Guyett says the fact that she was replaced disproves the paper’s claims that hard news reporters and beats were protected in the layoffs.

However, Judge Young notes that some of the other employees laid off from the paper were younger than Guyett.

A deposition of Guyett’s editor has already been released, but observers note that the trial could uncover more details on Gannett’s controversial layoff plan, under which thousands of reporters have been fired in order to cut operating costs.

 

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