Judge rules on information requests in Wendy Bell discrimination case
A federal judge ruled Thursday on several requests for information in the discrimination lawsuit filed by former WTAE news anchor Wendy Bell.
Among them, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy said attorneys for station owner Hearst Stations Inc. must identify all employees who have been disciplined for violating the company’s ethics policies over the past decade, said Sam Cordes, an attorney for Bell.
Hearst also must identify all employees who filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint within the past 10 years and provide personnel files for two employees whose misconduct didn’t result in any disciplinary action, Cordes said. The latter files will not be released publicly.
Eddy also gave Cordes until Aug. 21 to amend Bell’s complaint to include a potential gender discrimination claim.
WTAE said it fired Bell for an online comment she posted using a company Facebook account following the March 9, 2016, massacre of five people and an unborn child in a backyard barbecue ambush in Wilkinsburg. Bell speculated in the post about the race and family background of the shooters and contrasted that profile with her recent encounter with a black busboy.
The company fired her March 30, 2016.
Bell sued the station in June 2016, claiming racial discrimination. She claimed through her attorney that she wouldn’t have been fired for her comments if she were not white.
An attorney for Hearst could not be reached.