Friday, June 11, 2010

GateHouse, former Rolla advertising manager reach settlement in age discrimination lawsuit

During the same week in which a lawsuit was filed in federal court alleging GateHouse Media fired a 62-year-old publisher to replace her with a 39-year-old, the company settled another age discrimination lawsuit.

An order filed Thursday in U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri says GateHouse Media has reached an agreement with former Rolla Daily News advertising manager Lonna Sowers, who was also 62 when she was fired and replaced with a 33-year-old.

Terms of the settlement were not included in the court documents.

In the lawsuit, filed May 5, 2008, in U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, lawyers for Ms. Sowers claimed she was fired on May 10, 2007, "because of her age."

Ms. Sowers, 62, was replaced by Alissa Martin, who was 33 at the time. Ms. Sowers also claims she had been "treated less favorably than her younger co-worker by defendants."

The company listed the reasons for firing Ms. Sowers in a June 21, 2007, letter sent to Ms. Sowers by a St. Louis law firm, which said, "Ms. Sowers was discharged on May 10, 2004 (sic) after the advertising sales figures were and had been dramatically lower than were acceptable. In addition, in the course of the company's investigation as to the cause of this downturn in advertising business, the company learned that a major part of the problem was significant antipathy toward Ms. Sowers from the advertising public and her co-workers."


Anonymous said...

Gloria is the ultimate career killer. Not to mention the impact on the families involved, but she doesn't care! What's her body count at now?

Eric Strobel said...

I am a former GateHouse publisher. I am saddened to read the stories about Ms. Lind and Ms. Sowers. These stories are much too familiar among ex-GateHouse employees. As a publisher, I was told to improve my financial performance, or that I would be terminated. Fortunately, a short time later our team exceeded our budgetary expecatations for the year. I was then advised that it really wasn't about the money after all, and that I should immediately secure other employment. As I returned one of my superiors to his hotel near the airport, I was told that I that I didn't have any redeeming qualities as a manager. As I retrieved his luggage from my trunk and wheeled it into the hotel, he suggested that I find work as a "car valet". He indicated that I would have his support and good reference if I took up that line of work. I heard an almost identical litany of reasons for their termination of my employment as that of Ms. Sowers. Eventually, I was told to resign with a severance package, or they would fire me on the spot. I took two weeks pay and walked out the door. During my tenure with GateHouse, I watched as other employees were treated in a manner not becoming or befitting a national newspaper organization. I make less money now, but I work for wonderful people. There are some things in life that are more important than money. I am sure I will bounce back and make more money than ever. I wish Ms. Lind well in her case!!!!! She should have asked for more money!

Eric Strobel

Anonymous said...

I was told better to work at Burger king than stay at Gatehouse they were right