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Ex-TV show director sues for wrongful termination

The ex-director of "Home & Family," a show on the Hallmark Channel, filed a lawsuit in California on Dec. 23 against the executive producer of the show alleging wrongful termination and age discrimination. Other defendants listed in the suit include Crown Media United States LLC, Woody Fraser Enterprises Inc. and Woody Fraser Productions Inc.

The lawsuit states that the plaintiff was hired before production for "Home & Family" started in 2012. As a two-hour show with weekday air times, "Home & Family" also airs specials during prime time periodically.

Despite his "exemplary" performance during the initial three seasons of the show, the plaintiff alleges that the defendant abused and harassed him and gave him the sense that he was unwelcome because of his age. He also claims that the defendant called him a particular nickname and that he was gifted a pillow with a rooster and the nickname on it.

Additionally, the lawsuit states that the plaintiff received a letter from the defendant in June 2015 that criticized his direction of a special, called his work careless and falsely accused him of damaging the show. The following month, the defendant fired the plaintiff.

The ex-director says that the replacement director, who is younger than 40, has lesser qualifications compared to his own. He also believes that management should have better supervised or fired the executive producer to improve the work environment. In addition to age discrimination and wrongful termination, the plaintiff accuses the defendants of defamation, negligent retention and supervision, and retaliation. He is seeking unspecified damages.

Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, workers who are 40 or older are protected from discrimination based on their age. Workers who believe that they are victims of age discrimination may want to have the assistance of an attorney in filing complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or applicable state agency.

Source: Patch, "Fired Director, Claiming Agism, Suing Producer for Wrongful Termination," Alexander Nguyen, Dec. 24, 2015

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