By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

White ex-employees sue Gannett over diversity

A news organization can’t do its job as well as it should unless its journalists are as diverse as the community they cover. The giant newspaper chain Gannett, for all its faults, has long enjoyed a reputation for taking diversity seriously. Now the company is being sued by former white employees who claim they were laid off while less qualified Black staff members kept their jobs. Taylor Telford reports (free link) for The Washington Post:

The case is among the first to test the legality of corporate diversity practices in the wake of a June Supreme Court ruling that struck down affirmative action in college admissions. That decision has sparked a wave of litigation aimed at racial considerations in the workplace, including claims that corporate efforts to increase diversity have disadvantaged White employees.

I’m sympathetic toward anyone who loses their job, but I’m not sympathetic to the argument that the plaintiffs are making. News organizations are like police departments and school systems in that racial diversity is an intrinsic part of serving their community. Who is seated at the table when decisions are being made about what stories to cover and how to cover them? I hope this lawsuit doesn’t go anywhere, but I suspect my hopes will not be fulfilled.

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1 Comment

  1. Ilex

    I hope there is a high bar for proving an allegation of “less qualified.”

    Also, I’ve known people who were selected to be laid off because they were higher-paid than another person with the same job. That higher pay may have been due to them being “better qualified” but it made more sense for a cost-cutting company to keep the cheaper worker. So maybe those white guys should not jump to conclusions about why the Black staff are still there. Maybe for once Black employees are benefitting from the racial pay gap.

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