Thursday, November 29, 2018

I can name that lawsuit in one note

Demetria Kalodimos, age 58, worked as an anchor for Nashville's WSMV for 33 years. After the station failed to renew her contract, she sued for age and gender discrimination.

Among her allegations:

  • In 2014, after Kalodimos "made clear" that she would not retire, the station hired the younger Tracy Kornet to replace her as lead anchor.
  • In an ad announcing Kornet's hiring, Kornet said that "she watched Kalodimos deliver the news 'a million years ago' when she was 17."  
  • Producers told Kalodimos that they were "under pressure from Channel 4 management to 'showcase' Ms. Kornet over Ms. Kalodimos."
  • Management moved Kalodimos to a smaller, non-private office, while younger on-air talent received private offices.

The straw the broke the camel's back, according to The Tennessean? The station notified her of her termination with a letter left on her desk—"no conversation, no face to face meeting, no thanks."

There is a right way and wrong way to fire someone.

The right way—a thank you, a severance package, and some dignity—goes a long way to the relationship ending amicably and without a lawsuit.

The wrong way—a "Dear John" termination letter (or, worse, an email or text message), a perp walk, and zero dignity—leads to bad feelings and lawsuits.

Some employees deserve to be shown the door swiftly and coarsely. They stole, they harassed someone, they assaulted someone.

But for most terminations—the "you're not a good-fit," the it just isn't working out," the we're going in a different direction"—you want to do what you can to avoid litigation. And firing a 33-year employee by leaving a note on her desk is just the slap in the face that will get you slapped with a summons.

* Photo by Free-Photos on Pixabay