Gannett Newspaper Chain Sued for ‘Reverse Racism’ Policy

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(Robert Jonathan, Headline USA) America’s largest newspaper publisher is formerly on notice of a legal challenge over a so-called reverse racism policy.

In the lawsuit filed in Virginia federal court, there are currently five named plaintiffs, four men and one woman, whose careers were allegedly adversely affected by Gannett Co. Inc.’s corporate diversity protocols.

Gannett, which is headquartered in northern Virginia just outside D.C., owns USA Today as well as hundreds of other local and regional news media outlets.

The legal complaint provides a summary about how these specific employees were  allegedly passed over for promotion and sometimes even wound up getting fired amidst purported office politics subsequent to Gannett’s 2020 announcement that it intended to achieve “racial and gender parity” in its workforce by 2025.

If the court grants case class-action status to the discrimination case, the number of plaintiffs could potentially expand significantly.

Corporate executives reportedly linked managers’ bonuses or other perks to the implementation of hiring quotas that were apparently based on the demographics of the local communities.

“Gannett moved forward with the implementation of the Reverse Race Discrimination Policy resulting in numerous highly qualified non-minority individuals finding their work relationship terminated or suffering other adverse actions based purely on their race,” the filing claims.

According to the lawsuit, one high-ranking executive “informed Gannett managers that no more straight White males should be hired going forward.”

The plaintiffs are currently suing under Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which appears to be the same legal theory put forth in a lawsuit recently filed against two of the country’s largest law firms.

“Gannett executed their Reverse Race Discrimination Policy with a callous indifference towards civil rights laws or the welfare of the workers, and prospective workers, whose lives would be upended by it,” the lawsuit argues.

In response to the legal filing, Polly Grunfeld Sack, the news organization’s chief legal counsel, insisted that “Gannett always seeks to recruit and retain the most qualified individuals for all roles within the company.”

The attorney added that “We will vigorously defend our practice of ensuring equal opportunities for all our valued employees against this meritless lawsuit.”

In August 2020, USA Today itself reported that “Gannett…announced a broad initiative… to make its workforce as diverse as the country by 2025 and to expand the number of journalists focused on covering issues related to race and identity, social justice and equality.”

The plaintiffs in the Virginia case request a court order that would shut down Gannett’s current affirmative action policy along with a jury trial.

They also seek back pay and future lost wages, along with an array of other money damages.

Their 20-page complaint begins by quoting the Supreme Court’s landmark decision overturning race-based college admissions policies that “Eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it.”

The lawsuit also maintains that “Gannett’s commitment is simple, to hire and promote a certain percentage of individuals on the basis of their skin color and without regard to the relevant applicant pool.”

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