Fox 61 political reporter Shelly Sindland filed the age and sex discrimination complaint last week with the Connecticut Human Rights and Opportunities Commission. She alleges there is a pattern of age and sex discrimination at the TV station. She says she was offered a pay cut in her latest contract negotiations, and that the company is pushing to replace veteran female anchors with younger, less experienced women.
It's not a new charge in television news, but on WNPR's Where We Live, employment lawyer Daniel Schwartz said the changing nature of the medium makes the legal issues in this case a little murky.
"I think of the more interesting questions that's sort of coming up now is as the line gets blurred between news and entertainment -- and the entertainment industry can really set some of its own standards -- where does that line fall for TV news reporters? There's really no great bright line answer."
Fox 61 shares an owner and top management with the Hartford Courant. While the Courant has covered the complaint, the story first broke on ctnewsjunkie, a web-only news site.
Former TV reporter and media blogger Duby McDowell said the coverage of this case illustrates the drawbacks of media consolidation in Hartford.
"We're seeing the downside where something that is of concern to one branch of that ownership group is not getting nearly the coverage it normally would. So I think it presents a lot of concern."
In a statement, Fox 61 says Sindland's complaint has no merit and the station will vigorously defend itself.