Looks like another Nexstar station is facing another lawsuit from a former female employee.
Former human resources manager at WTNH (New Haven) Rachel Mastriano has sued the station and its parent company, Nexstar, claiming gender and age discrimination and alleging that the station’s general manager Rich Graziano made “sexist comments regarding young females.”
Mastriano filed complaints with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last year and was recently cleared to file the lawsuit.
In the suit, she claims she received exemplary reviews for her work until Graziano arrived as general manager in January 2017.
“From the outset of Mr. Graziano’s employment, plaintiff noted sexist and inappropriate comments that he made regarding young female employees,” the lawsuit reads. “On one occasion, he suggested that they should put one of our young female anchors on Facebook in a bikini. He made other sexist comments regarding young females including descriptions of their body parts. He was focused on the appearance of the young female anchors at WTNH and he regularly made personal comments about them.”
The Hartford Courant writes that during his first few months running the station, the lawsuit alleges, Graziano removed three women over the age of 40 from their jobs — the program manager, the director of community affairs and the producer of WTNH’s “Style” show — the lawsuit states.
Mastriano also alleges that Graziano chastised her for attending media day at the Travelers Championship, something she had done in the past, and fired her after she requested Red Sox tickets from an advertiser, something she claims was common practice.
“As part of the culture in media, advertisers regularly provide tickets to various events for employees and clients to use,” the lawsuit reads. “This was treated as a benefit of working at a TV station like WTNH. For the seven years of plaintiff’s employment, she was told by defendant’s management that this was accepted as an industry practice.”
After she obtained the Red Sox tickets, Mastriano claims, Graziano called her into his office, made derogatory comments, insulted her, suspended her, then terminated her, claiming she “violated the company’s business conduct policy” relating to conflicts of interest and gifts and entertainment.
Mastriano claims she was singled out because of her age and gender.
Graziano and Nexstar did not respond to a request for comment.