More than 165 television writers filed a class action suit against 17 television networks and seven talent agencies alleging age discrimination over ten years ago. At the time, all of the plaintiffs were over 40 years old. Some never got to see the victory settlement.
A settlement was finally reached on Friday for $70 million.
Paul Sprenger of Sprenger and Lang in Washington, D.C., lead counsel for the defendants issued the following statement: “I speak for all class counsel in recommending that all settlement class members accept the settlement. We are honored to represent a distinguished and talented group of clients and class members.”
The California Superior Court must still approve the decision before payments can be issued, which could take several more months.
Not only is age discrimination an illegal practice, but in this case, it deprives TV viewers of the rich life experiences that are brought to the table by writers who are experienced at their craft and posses first-hand knowledge of events that younger writers do not and must research. Often, important elements get lost in that process.
Young, energetic writers working with talented seniors are a valuable resource to any project.
Somehow, that lesson was lost on major networks and agencies.
This landmark decision will offer older writers an opportunity to remain in the work force, utilizing their talents and skills to benefit all of us.
Photo credit: Jim Thurman (1935 - 2007), a writer and voice actor who served a lengthy stint on Sesame Street.