Traffic Reporter Was Denied Hire Because of Her Age, Agency Charges

DALLAS – CBS Stations Group of Texas violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) when it refused to hire Tammy Campbell for a full-time traffic reporter position because of her age, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

CBS Stations Group of Texas is a division of New York-based CBS Corporation. CBS Corporation owns and operates a group of 29 television stations throughout the United States, including a Dallas/Fort Worth television station, KTXA, Inc., locally known as “CBS 11.”

According to the EEOC’s suit, Campbell (formerly Tammy Dombeck) had worked for CBS 11 as a “freelance, non-staff traffic reporter” beginning in February 2013. In October 2014, CBS 11’s morning full-time traffic reporter resigned and CBS 11 initiated a search for a replacement. The job announcement stated that the ideal candidate will have a strong knowledge of local traffic in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. CBS 11’s job announcement went on, “applicant must have at least 5 years professional broadcasting experience.”

Given Campbell’s experience working for CBS 11 as well as traffic reporting work for a rival local television station in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, she expressed her strong interest in the position to CBS 11’s station management and applied for the job. CBS 11 hired a 24-year-old applicant for the full-time traffic reporter position. The younger applicant did not have five years’ professional broadcasting experience, nor did she have any broadcast experience in the DFW metro area. The company had also made an offer to a 27-year old applicant who accepted and then withdrew from the hiring process. Campbell was over age 40 at the time she applied for the position.

“Tammy Campbell was clearly qualified for the position of traffic reporter,” said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Joel Clark. “We are confident that the station’s ratings were favorable during the time that she filled in as the morning traffic reporter. But the station clearly preferred a younger face and a less-qualified applicant based on unfounded stereotypes about female reporters in broadcast television.”

Such alleged conduct violates the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which prohibits employers from discriminating based on age. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division (EEOC v. CBS Broadcasting Inc., d/b/a CBS Stations Group of Texas, KTXA-TV and KTVT-TV; Civil Action No. 3:17-CV02624-M) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Robert A. Canino, regional attorney for the Dallas District Office, said, “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the ADEA, and while the law itself is getting ‘older,’ it remains very relevant and continues to make a positive difference in the workplace. That’s often the same thing that could be said for older employees who can certainly contribute to the success of a business if they’re given the opportunity.”