A former Vice President at MTV is suing its parent, Viacom for
discrimination. Andrea Fair who was hired by MTV in 2005 and promoted in 2008 has claimed
that she was treated differently by her male supervisor on account of
her age and her gender. Fair, who has more than 20 years in the music
industry, has alleged that she was bullied by her male manager and that
the company failed to take any action in response to her complaints. Specifically,
Fair alleges that her responsibilities were diminished and her role as
VP minimized because of her age and her gender.
The suit included allegations her male manager would routinely cut her
off on conference calls and accused Fair of being "too emotional"
which is a common complaint that women often hear in the workplace based
on outdated gender stereotypes.
Fair has alleged that younger women were given preferential treatment
and positions for which they were not qualified. The complaint alleges
that part of the age and gender discrimination was that the men in senior
management would give the younger and less qualified employees important
assignments such as sending them to the MTV movie and music award shows
and assigning them video shoots with celebrities such as Rihanna. Specifically,
Fair has claimed that her manager told her that the company did not have
the money to send her to the awards shows, but then the company sent male
colleagues and a younger female colleague.
The controversy came to a head in 2010 when Human Resources notified Fair
that the younger woman had lodged a complaint against her for being aggressive
and controlling. Viacom ultimately fired Fair as a result of these allegations
which has only fueled Fair in her effort to expose the unequal standards
that exist at the company. For example, Fair has cited a list of male
employees who were not punished by the company for their own misconduct.
Fair is not just seeking her lost wages and other compensatory damages
but that the company be directed to take affirmative steps to ensure that
alleged unlawful practices be eliminated.
There have been more and more discrimination suits brought by women at
Fortune 500 companies in recent years which is a signal that women in
the workplace are still being victimized because of their gender. The
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's reported statistics on sex
[gender] discrimination shows that in the last four years reported cases
of discrimination have increased over the prior years. One explanation
for this upswing is that in a weaker economy, when jobs are being eliminated,
women are the first to be targeted.
Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP represents plaintiffs in cases of employment
discrimination and retaliation under the federal, state, and city laws.