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  • Mark Thompson, the CEO of the New York Times, is being sued for alleged discriminatory hiring practices.

    Mark Thompson, the CEO of the New York Times, is being sued for alleged discriminatory hiring practices. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 April 2016

Two Black women at the newspaper are suing the CEO for creating a work environment that gives preferential treatment to young, white employees.

The New York Times has been hit with a multimillion-dollar class action lawsuit for alleged ageism, racism and sexism in the workplace.

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According to the two Black women employees, Ernestine Grant, 62, and Marjorie Walker, 61, who work in the the advertising departments and who filed the lawsuit, the paper’s environment has “become rife with discrimination.”

The lawsuit describes how the Times favors young, white employees over older female and Black workers. It details how in the eight years since Mark Thompson has been the chief executive of the paper, its advertising staff has become “increasingly younger and whiter.”

“Older advertising directors of color found themselves pushed out through buyouts, or outright terminated, but those vacancies were rapidly filled with younger, white individuals,” the lawsuit says, as reported in The Guardian.

The claimants also say they were not given promotions while younger white employees were, despite their relative lack of experience. These younger white employees are also paid more than the claimants, according to the lawsuit. In addition, younger white employees in advertising were also allegedly given Friday afternoons off in the summer, while older employees of color were not given this perk.

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The lawsuit also describes Thompson’s past, which is mired in complaints of discriminatory practices. While Thompson was the director general of the BBC, a journalist at the organization, Miriam O’Reilly, filed and won an age-discrimination employment tribunal. Grant and Walker, in the lawsuit, say Thompson has “brought his misogynistic and ageist attitudes across the Atlantic to New York City.”

The claimants also say that “gender inequality is so endemic” at the paper that Jill Abramson, the New York Times’ first female editor, was fired after she complained she was paid less than her male peers.

A spokesperson for the Times told The Guardian that while they have not seen the complaint, the statements shared with them “grossly distort the work environment at the New York Times Company.”

A 2014 survey by the Women’s Media Center found that of the 10 largest papers in the U.S., the Times had the least female bylines, 69 percent of stories were written by men, while 75 percent of opinion writers were male.

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