Vergara alleged discrimination patterns and practices at Weigel Broadcasting and WDJT-TV Channel CBS 58, including Telemundo 63.
By H. Nelson Goodson
September 6, 2013
Milwaukee, WI – On Friday, Attorney Cole White released a statement to Hispanic News Network U.S.A. (HNNUSA) that his client Telemundo 63 anchor Carlos Vergara for Weigel Broadcasting and WDJT-TV Channel CBS 58 had filed a discrimination claim in May with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The discrimination claim is expected to proceed in federal court as a possible class-action lawsuit.
Attorney White who was retained by Vergara in July says, that when Vergara was hired at CBS 58 almost three years ago, he was told that he would be anchoring for the Spanish language Telemundo 63 and would also be doing news reporting and anchoring for the English language news cast at CBS 58. Instead, several other less experienced Anglo anchors were given the opportunity to anchor and the CBS 58 management bypassed Vergara who is fluent in both English and Spanish. He has never been given an opportunity to anchor on CBS 58. Vergara became one of two anchors at Telemundo 63 who had to produce, translate, edit and report its news from CBS 58 for Telemundo 63 compared to the CBS 58 anchor news cast which has about a 25 member crew to produce, edit and do reporting, including its own reporters on the street. Telemundo 63 has no reporters on the street to cover and gather news from the Latino community.
Attorney White said, that when Vergara had attempted to address some of the problems at Telemundo 63 and that it doesn’t really speak to the community its supposed to cover, Genie Garner, the News Director for CBS 58 had said, “we don’t care about them anyway.” Garner has also allegedly referred to the Latino community as illegal aliens and that the Weigel corporate executives have said, that she is in the helm at CBS 58 and that they don’t care who she offends, according to Vergara’s attorney.
Attorney White says, because of the “pervasive racism and private bullying atmosphere that is tolerated all the way down to the Weigel corporate offices in Chicago,” Telemundo and CBS 58 haven’t been able to keep Hispanic employees for more than two years at the station.
Vergara, White and the EEOC tried to resolved the issue with Weigel representatives at a mediation meeting, but negotiations broke down and nothing was resolved.
In the past decade, there have been a lot of turnover of Telemundo 63 anchors who haven’t stayed for long at CBS 58, allegedly because of a pattern and practices of discrimination at Weigel Broadcasting.
HNNUSA on Friday attempted to contact both Jim Hall, the General Manager at CBS 58 and Garner, the News Director at CBS 58 through an e-mail request to comment about Vergara’s claims, but they haven’t responded as of yet.
Vergara had taken a temperary leave, but is expected back at Telemundo 63 soon.
Vergara has more than 18 years of experience in news reporting, producing and anchoring. Vergara’s career includes producing in New York City, shooting news in Maryland and Georgia, reporting and anchoring in California, Virginia, Miami and Milwaukee. He also worked for the RCN TV Network in Bogota, Colombia and had been anchoring the nightly news on Telemundo 63 in Spanish, according to CBS 58 website.
Last week, JSonline reported that Attorney Nola Hitchcock Cross confirmed that Shari Dunn, an African-American anchor for CBS WDJT Channel 58 and Weigel Broadcasting had filed a complaint against Weigel for discrimination because of her race. Dunn is claiming, “a possible pattern” that male counterparts are paid higher than females and “a culture” that male opinions at the station were valued more than females.
She filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Dunn’s attorney is expected to file a class-action discrimination case in federal court.
Dunn is a graduate of Nicollet High School and Marquette University. She joined CBS 58 in February 2009.