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A television executive accuses Charter, Comcast of discrimination

On Nov. 23, a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit judge in Pasadena issued a ruling that will allow an African-American entrepreneur to continue pursuing a racial discrimination lawsuit against Charter Communications and Comcast.

The plaintiff is the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Entertainment Studios. It’s a Los Angeles-based production and distribution company that oversees the operations of several television shows and networks including The Weather Channel.

While he was successful in negotiating a “carriage” contract with at least 50 other television distributors including AT&T, DirecTV and Verizon, he claims that he was unable to do so with the Connecticut-based Charter Communications or the Pennsylvania-based Comcast. The former is the second-largest cable company in the country. The latter is the biggest one.

In the plaintiff’s lawsuit, he chronicled how Charter’s former senior vice president of programming repeatedly denied his request to meet with him about carrying his company’s channels between 2011 and 2016. He also contends that the same company executive continued to meet with representatives from other white-owned networks to negotiate agreements during this same time.

It’s during the same time frame that the Charter executive declined to meet with the plaintiff that he reportedly approached African-American protestors camped outside of his office. He allegedly told them to quit looking for a “handout” and “to get off welfare.” He also chronicled how another Charter executive told him that he needed to modify the way he acted and called him “boy” at an industry event.

Before the judge’s ruling last week, both cable providers had successfully petitioned two different lower court judges to throw out the plaintiff’s discrimination claim. The federal appeals judge overturned both rulings. The appellate judge cited Charter’s different handling of white-owned companies as the reason for allowing the plaintiff to move forward in pursuing his claim.

Although there are both state and federal laws on the books that are supposed to ensure that everyone is treated equitably regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, age, religion or national origin, some employers turn a blind eye to them. They do so, in part, because they think that they won’t be held accountable for their actions.

If you’ve been treated unfairly simply because you belong to a protected group, then a Los Angeles workplace discrimination attorney can help you recover lost compensation.

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