MIAMI, — A clear message has been sent to the highest level of corporate corridors with the departure of Les Moonves, Chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation, and Jeff Fager, Executive Producer of 60 Minutes and former Chairman of CBS News.
Michele Gillen is a 39 time Emmy Award winning investigative reporter, having accumulated over twenty-five Emmy awards for her insightful and in-depth investigative reporting during her tenure at this Miami station. As Chief Investigative Reporter she received consistent accolades from peers and the community and has been consistently credited with effectuating positive changes to public policy.
As she says, “For 19 years I had the honor of working as an investigative reporter at the CBS owned and operated station WFOR-TV in Miami, Florida. This is a community that I dearly love and call home. For most of those years and until my last day at the station, I wore the mantel of the Chief Investigative Reporter. That meant a lot to me. Especially as an investigative journalist who happens to be a woman.”
After documenting and reporting behavior to HR at CBS headquarters, Ms. Gillen was told by a senior HR manager that “tempers flare” and “favoritism is not illegal.” CBS then retaliated by putting her on a punitive, humiliating quota for her on-air investigative work, while simultaneously leaving the very managers whom Ms. Gillen had repeatedly reported as abusive in charge as gate-keepers, blocking her access to air time. CBS Management even went so far as to giving even more on-air time to her male harasser, who boldly declared in a staff meeting that he was done trying to figure out which of his stories will appeal and attract “women who are menstruating and watching Blue Bloods.
Ms. Gillen noted, “The fear and intimidation of employees is poisonous and pervasive, part of an institutionalized pattern, and has gone on for too long. Protecting and promoting bullies and ‘bad boy behavior’ while destroying careers and lives must stop now. The stories I was committed to doing for 19 years at WFOR-TV were about exposing truth, finding transparency amid systemic lies, and bringing voice to those who were not listened to. At the heart of this lawsuit are those very issues and more.”
Ms. Gillen is now bringing a lawsuit against CBS alleging age and gender discrimination, and retaliation under the civil rights act. She shares, “Every case of abuse is personal. In my case, it was a weapon to break down my will to continue in the face of adversity. CBS condoned these tactics in normal daily interaction toward me and other highly qualified journalists, to intimate, marginalize, and ultimately exclude them. While it is difficult to publicly share the extent of what I endured in the toxic, misogynistic culture at WFOR-TV, keeping secret the company’s approved behavior and treatment of me and other female employees is wrong. Nothing will change if it isn’t brought to light.”
Ms. Gillen is represented by Marie Napoli, Esq. and Louise Caro, Esq. of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. The case is Gillen v. CBS and the case number is 1:18-cv-23788.
About Napoli Shkolnik PLLC
Napoli Shkolnik PLLC is a national litigation firm providing representation to plaintiffs in class actions and complex commercial litigation, as well as victims of environmental contamination disasters, aviation accidents, defective prescriptions drugs and medical devices, asbestos-related illnesses, and other serious personal injury matters. With their principal offices in New York City and additional offices in California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and affiliates through the United States, Napoli Shkolnik PLLC is readily available to clients.