Andre Briscoe, a black man who worked at the MediaNews-owned Herald from August 2005 through January 2008, asserts in the lawsuit that he was paid less than other reporters because of his race and fired in retaliation for complaining about discrimination to the paper's human resources department. He is suing the Herald and MediaNews for punitive damages, as well as compensation for lost wages and "general damages for mental and emotional distress."
Marshall Anstandig, an in-house lawyer for MediaNews, disputes the claims in Briscoe's lawsuit. He told SF Weekly today in a telephone interview that Briscoe was not fired, but laid off along with roughly half a dozen other employees as part of job cuts across the Herald. Briscoe claims in the lawsuit that he was fired four days after he took his concerns about discrimination to the Herald's human resources manager.
Anstandig also said Briscoe's assertion in the lawsuit that he was underpaid compared to other reporters with less experience doesn't stand up. He said Briscoe miscalculated his colleagues' experience levels.
MediaNews owns newspapers across the country, and is a strong presence in the Bay Area, where it owns the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune and Marin Independent Journal.