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Age and Gender Discrimination Suit Filed Against MTV in New York


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and accused Fair of being "too emotional" which is a common complaint that women often hear in the workplace based on outdated gender stereotypes.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.

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