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Ex-Fox Sports Workers Sue Network for Age Discrimination – Hollywood Reporter

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Nine former workers say Fox Sports used the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretense to push out older workers.
By Winston Cho
Nine former Fox Sports workers say they were “ghosted” for over a year without ever being told if they were still employed after the network told them not to come to work due to office closures forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ex-workers are suing Fox Sports for age discrimination, alleging that the network used stay-at-home orders as a pretense to push them out. “Fox knew full well they were not calling back these older workers,” states the complaint filed on Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, which is embedded below. “Indeed, Plaintiffs are informed and believe that other employees were called back and/or hired for Plaintiffs’ jobs – the majority of whom were much younger. Yet, incredulously, Fox never notified Plaintiffs their careers were over.”

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The plaintiffs range in age from 52 to 80. They worked in the graphics department, with the longest-tenured employee working at the company for 29 years. While they were contract workers, the lawsuit says they were treated as full-time employees. They were told not to come to work, along with other non-essential employees, starting in March 2020.
According to the complaint, Fox repeatedly told the workers that they would keep them posted on when they could return and paid them through April. They started to suspect that they were being replaced by younger, less inexperienced employees in July 2020 when they learned that others were already brought back to work.
Unknown to the plaintiffs at the time, Gary Hartley, executive vice president of Fox Sports Creative Services, had told the graphics department that no one else would return and that he had “got rid of all the dead weight,” according to the complaint. The workers alleged that they were still in the dark about their employment status despite numerous inquiries asking if they were still employed.
“When Plaintiffs reached out for news, Fox kept dangling the carrot and stringing them along by saying they were still figuring things out and would know more soon,” the lawsuit states. “Having spent the vast majority (if not all for some) of their careers at Fox, Plaintiffs dutifully waited to return to their jobs.”
Fox Sports told one of the workers in June 2021 that it did not “appear [they would] be calling additional people back in the foreseeable future” because it was “cutting budgets and altering processes.” Another plaintiff only discovered he was officially unemployed when his insurance was denied, according to the lawsuit. “Indeed, Fox never notified any of the Plaintiffs at any point up to today that they had been laid off, terminated, or otherwise let go,” the complaint states.

The plaintiffs allege age and disability discrimination, wrongful termination, intentional misrepresentation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Fox Sports did not respond to a request for comment.
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