Station's you might want to watch who you have working on Christmas Day this year.
Bob French, a Chief Meteorologist and Weathercaster employed by KBTX in Bryan and College Station for 23 years has filed a charge of Age and Disability Discrimination as well as Retaliation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).
Bob French, over the age of 40, claims he was overworked during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays of 2012 while other much younger employees were allowed time off. The strain of the long hours resulted in French’s in-patient treatment for exhaustion and stress-related matters in Houston in mid-January and caused his absence from the airwaves while recovering under Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave.
Upon French’s return to work and on air in April, 2013, KBTX General Manager Mike Wright allegedly reprimanded French for matters relating to his disability and FMLA leave. Shortly after, French was fired from KBTX in early July, 2013. He was replaced by a weathercaster under 40 years of age.
“For KBTX to have violated Bob’s legally-protected rights is offensive” Says his lawyer Charles Peckham. “If KBTX can fire a beloved man such as Bob French for being over the age of 40 or for simply exercising his right to disability leave, no employee is safe from similar illegal treatment. Bob is standing up to send a message to KBTX that folks over 40 are not second-class citizens.”
KBTX released this Statement:
The KBTX family is disappointed to learn from other media outlets that our former colleague and friend Bob French has chosen to file a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stemming from his employment here. KBTX and Gray Television respect the privacy of the employment relationship, and accordingly, will not litigate matters related to Mr. French's employment in the press. KBTX, however, will defend itself vigorously against Mr. French's allegations and is confident that upon reviewing the record, the EEOC will conclude that Mr. French's allegations are utterly without merit.