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Major newspaper publisher sued for alleged discrimination to achieve diversity goals

Gannett allegedly discriminated against White employees according to a recent lawsuit filed on Friday.

The lawsuit claims that Gannett under its “Reverse Race Discrimination Policy” “resulted in the termination of numerous well qualified workers based purely on their non-minority status.”

“Gannett executed their reverse race discrimination policy with a callous indifference towards civil rights laws or the welfare of the workers, and prospective workers, whose lives would be upended by it,” the complaint argued.

The complaint listed that former employee Steve Bradley was fired from one position in a Gannett-owned publication and then passed over for another position for a Black female “despite [her] not having expressed interest or applying in the first instance, and despite having far less qualifications.”

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“Gannett could not provide any explanation, other than enforcement of their Reverse Race Discrimination Policy, concerning how someone far less qualified who was not even under consideration for the position when he was informed they were down to two finalists was selected over Mr. Bradley,” the lawsuit alleged.

The policy was implemented in 2020 with the goal of being as diverse as the community by 2025.

“I am firmly committed to ensuring our organization is inclusive, diverse and equitable for all of our employees,” CEO Michael Reed said in a statement at the time. “Our people are our greatest asset and the heart of our organization. Given the nature of our business – to inform and empower our communities – it is crucial that our workforce represents the communities we serve. I look forward to working with our leadership to ensure we are continuing to make meaningful progress on this journey.”

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In support of the case, the lawsuit cited the recent Supreme Court case which ruled that affirmative action, using race as a factor in college admissions, violated 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The opinion noted that “[e]liminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it.”

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“In other words, the student must be treated based on his or her ex­periences as an individual—not on the basis of race,” the opinion read. “Many universities have for too long done just the oppo­site. And in doing so, they have concluded, wrongly, that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned but the color of their skin. Our constitutional history does not tolerate that choice.”

The lawsuit calls for an end to Gannett’s Reverse Race Discrimination Policy as well implementing “all other forms of legal and equitable relief available to redress the harms suffered by those individuals subject to Gannett’s Reverse Race Discrimination Policy.”

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In a comment to Fox News Digital, Gannett Chief Legal Counsel Polly Grunfeld Sack said, “Gannett always seeks to recruit and retain the most qualified individuals for all roles within the company. We will vigorously defend our practice of ensuring equal opportunities for all our valued employees against this meritless lawsuit.” 

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