February 10, 2010 in City

Former anchor sues KREM over job loss

Woodward alleges age, sex discrimination
By The Spokesman-Review
 
File photo

Nadine Woodward, a former news anchor at KREM, was a fixture on the station’s nightly newscast for 19 years.
(Full-size photo)

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Former TV anchor Nadine Woodward has sued KREM-TV, alleging age and sex discrimination when station management cut her salary and failed to give her a new contract last fall.

The lawsuit says KREM, where Woodward worked for 19 years, targeted the 48-year-old former anchor by proposing a 15 percent salary cut and eliminating other benefits, including a schedule that allowed her an evening meal with her family.

The suit was filed Tuesday in Spokane County Superior Court.

It alleges Woodward’s male counterparts earned more than she and were not treated the same way, though the lawsuit provides no salary figures.

After being asked to take a 15 percent pay cut, Woodward tried to negotiate a smaller reduction. When that failed, KREM terminated her contract, effectively firing her, the suit said.

Calls to KREM general manager Jamie Aitken were not returned Tuesday afternoon.

After leaving KREM in September, Woodward negotiated a deal with Spokane’s KXLY to work as a radio anchor and TV special-assignments reporter. But KREM asserted Woodward’s contract had a six-month non-compete clause that prevented her from working at a competing station until March 2010.

Because of KREM’s legal challenge, Woodward did not take the KXLY jobs, although she said she’ll begin working there in mid-March.

The suit says that job interference by KREM is illegal because, the suit alleges, KREM terminated Woodward “without cause.”

Woodward did not list the amount of damages she is seeking from KREM and its parent company, Texas-based Belo Corp. Typically, discrimination suits say the amount will be determined at trial.

In support of her age-discrimination claim, the suit says KREM replaced Woodward with a younger and less experienced anchor, Jane McCarthy, from Seattle.

In addition, McCarthy was also given the “family friendly” work schedule that Woodward was denied, the suit says.

Woodward co-anchored the 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts at KREM.

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