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Sex Discrimination Suit Filed Against Pacifica Station KPFA

by Noelle Hanrahan Friday, Jun. 10, 2005 at 5:10 AM
www.purpleberets.org 415.445.0146 http://www.purpleberets.org/pdf/firstamendedcomplaint.pdfhttp://www.purpleberets.org

Sex Discrimination Suit Filed Against KPFA > > Community radio station KPFA was served on Monday with a lawsuit filed by Noelle Hanrahan, former producer and co-host of Flashpoints, the station’s drive-time public affairs broadcast. Also named in the complaint are Pacifica Foundation, Flashpoints executive producer Dennis Bernstein, and ex-general manager, Jim Bennett. > > Among the charges in the complaint are sexual harassment and sex discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Sex Discrimination S...
dennis.jpg, image/jpeg, 81x71

Hanrahan, three-time winner of the Golden Reel Award, one of public radio’s highest honors, was hired in July 2000 as a temporary producer on Flashpoints, and elevated to co-host a year later. She alleges that in October, 2001, Bernstein informed her, “I’m going to torture you until you quit or I force you to leave.” Hanrahan informed General Manager Bennett of the incident, stating that she believed the actions were the result of sexual harassment and sex discrimination.
>
> Over the next five months, Hanrahan repeatedly requested of Bennett and others at both KPFA and Pacifica that her allegations be investigated and that disciplinary action be taken. During that period, according to the complaint, Hanrahan was exposed to an escalating pattern of harassment from Bernstein, who refused to talk with her, refused to inform her of information necessary to perform her job, and locked her out of editorial meetings. In one incident a master tape of an interview Hanrahan was preparing to air was erased, in an alleged attempt to sabotage her work and force her to resign.
>
> Throughout this period, according to the complaint, Bennett and others conducted no investigation and took no disciplinary action against Bernstein, despite Hanrahan’s repeated requests to management. At one point Hanrahan allegedly was informed by Bennett that, “If you file a grievance it will only get a lot worse.” Not long afterward management demoted Hanrahan, allotting her only 40% of the Flashpoints program.
>
> On November 20, 2001, Bernstein verbally attacked Hanrahan on the air, informing listeners she had made false allegations against him and was trying to take over the radio program, encouraging listeners to call KPFA and call for her dismissal. Less than three months later, Hanrahan was placed on involuntary leave and banned from the KPFA building.
>
> Citing KPFA’s failure to implement an effective procedure for reporting, investigating or addressing complaints of discrimination or harassment, the complaint alleges that prior to Hanrahan’s hiring, a number of other female employees had complained of Bernstein’s sexual harassment, discrimination and workplace violence. Those female employees resigned or were forced out of their positions as a result.
>
> “The fact that women’s voices are being silenced by gender-based harassment and intimidation is cause for deep concern,” Hanrahan stated. "My every attempt to have my grievances addressed was met with retaliation and a wholesale cover-up. Sadly, I was left with no other option but to turn to the courts for redress."
>
> Also cited in the complaint are a number of incidents of workplace violence by male KPFA employees. Unlike Hanrahan, those employees still work at KPFA.
>
> A week ago, another female Flashpoints producer, Solange Echeverría resigned, citing abusive behavior by Bernstein as the cause. In an open letter to the Local Station Board, Echeverría states:
>
> “ . . . I was FORCED OUT. I was left with no choice - I reported unfair treatment, favoritism, abuse and hostile working conditions on the Flashpoints program - perpetrated by Executive Producer Dennis Bernstein and I was met with complete disrespect, and disregard when I reported the abuse to the [now] General Manager, Roy Campenella.”
>
> Complaint online at http://www.purpleberets.org/pdf/firstamendedcomplaint.pdfhttp://www.purpleberets.org

>
> CONTACTS
>
> Tanya Brannan, Purple Berets
> 707.953.9412 www.purpleberets.org
>
> Wendy E.. Musell, Attorney
> 415.445.0146
>
> Elisa J. Stewart, Attorney
> 415.552.9900

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What? Meyer London Friday, Jun. 10, 2005 at 8:13 AM

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