Scene outside the New York Times Building on Oct. 1, 2014, in New York City
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Two black women have filed a lawsuit against the New York Times and its CEO, Mark Thompson, for allegedly fostering a culture of discrimination based on age, gender and race. 

The class action lawsuit, which may be joined by up to 50 others, alleges that the Times, which promotes its “liberal social viewpoints,” favors its “ideal staffer (young, white, unencumbered with a family)” at the expense of older female and black employees who are being pushed out.

Advertisement

The claimants—Ernestine Grant, 62, and Marjorie Walker, 61—who work in the Times’ advertising department (Grant for 16 years and Walker for eight), allege that the company’s advertising directors have become “increasingly younger and whiter,” according to The Guardian, which has seen a copy of the lawsuit.

They claim that these older black workers were repeatedly passed over for promotions in favor of younger white employees, despite the older workers’ experience, and that the white employees were paid more.

The lawsuit also claims that gender inequality is “endemic” to the company and cites the case of former Executive Editor Jill Abramson, who was fired after she complained that she was paid less than her male peers and predecessors. (Abramson was replaced by Dean Baquet, the paper’s first African-American editor.)

Advertisement

Grant, who wrote an essay this week in The Guardian entitled, “Why I’m Suing the New York Times for Discrimination,” identified herself as a “black woman in my 60s, currently battling multiple myeloma.” Grant says that since 2013, when CEO Thompson came in and brought in Chief Revenue Officer Meredith Levien, he and his CRO have set an “aggressive” and “discriminatory agenda.”

“In recent years, I have had a front-row seat to the Times’ new management systematically purging my division (and others) of older employees, people of color and women whose family obligations are viewed as interfering with work,” writes Grant.

She continues, “Management’s bias towards youth and discriminatory images of what the readers and customers of the Times should look like came at the cost of pushing out the division’s most productive and valuable older, minority and female employees. We came to expect lower pay, being passed over for promotions and having to make do without perks and advantages (event tickets for advertising customers, invites to networking parties, summer Fridays off) that were simply not afforded to those in groups out of favor.”

She concludes, “The New York Times can best serve its employees, business partners, readers and the general public by leading the social change it champions in its pages.”

Through a spokesperson, the Times denies the claims, saying the suit is “entirely without merit and we intend to fight it vigorously in court.”

Read more at The Guardian.