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Former KREM anchor sues, alleging discrimination

Nadine Woodward, a veteran TV news anchor at KREM, said she was let go by station management over contract terms. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Nadine Woodward, a veteran TV news anchor at KREM, said she was let go by station management over contract terms. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
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. The suit was filed by Lukins & Annis attorney Michael Hines. After being asked to take a 15 percent pay cut, Woodward tried to negotiate a smaller salary cut. When that failed, KREM in September terminated her contract, effectively firing her, the suit said. Calls to KREM general manager Jamie Aitken for comment were not returned. After leaving KREM, 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, based on KREM’s alleged termination of 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 said 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 said. Woodward co-anchored the 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts at KREM.
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