Wilson v. Cable News Network Inc.Annotate this Case
Plaintiff, a 51-year-old African- and Latino-American, began working for CNN in 1996 and became a producer in 2000. In 2004, Janos became plaintiff‘s supervisor. Plaintiff received no further promotions. The final opening for which plaintiff applied was offered to a younger, Caucasian candidate with less experience. Plaintiff alleges that he repeatedly complained about CNN‘s failure to promote African-American men. In 2005 plaintiff made a written complaint to Janos. Allegedly in retaliation, Janos issued Plaintiff a “Written Warning Regarding Performance.” In 2010 plaintiff‘s wife began fertility treatments paid for by CNN-provided health insurance; plaintiff claims that the infertility constituted a disability under Government Code 12926(k). Plaintiff‘s wife had twins in 2013. Plaintiff took five weeks of paternity leave. Plaintiff alleges that upon plaintiff‘s return to work, Janos gave high-profile assignments to a younger Caucasian man with less experience than plaintiff. In 2014, plaintiff submitted a story to an editor, who expressed concern about similarity to another report. The editor informed Janos, who, without talking to plaintiff, decided not to publish the story. Janos initiated an audit of plaintiff‘s work and ultimately fired plaintiff. Plaintiff filed suit, alleging discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, and defamation. Defendants filed a special motion to strike all causes of action (Code of Civil Procedure, 425.16, anti-SLAPP motion), submitting evidence of plagiarism in plaintiff’s story. The court of appeal reversed the trial court’s grant of the anti-SLAPP motion. This is a private employment discrimination and retaliation case, not an action to prevent defendants from exercising their First Amendment rights. Defendants may have a legitimate defense but the merits of that defense should be resolved through the normal litigation process, not at the initial phase of this action.