The largest newspaper publisher in the United States, Gannett Co Inc., was sued on Friday for discriminating against its White employees in the name of increasing diversity.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the class action lawsuit was filed in a Virginia federal court by five former and current employees of Gannett, all of whom say that they were either fired or ignored for promotions in order to increase the number of women and non-White employees at the company.
These hiring decisions were made due to a policy first implemented in 2020, which Gannett said was designed to make its newsrooms reflect the ethnic makeup of the communities each newsroom covers by the year 2025. Gannett has also given executive bonuses and promotions to those who help meet the “diversity” goal.
“Gannett executed their reverse race discrimination policy with a callous indifference towards civil rights laws or the welfare of the workers, and prospective workers, whose lives would be upended by it,” the plaintiffs’ lawsuit reads.
Gannett’s chief legal counsel, Polly Grunfeld Sack, defended the diversity policy and claimed that the company only wants to hire workers who are the most qualified.
“We will vigorously defend our practice of ensuring equal opportunities for all our valued employees against this meritless lawsuit,” said Sack in a statement.
Gannett’s policy is one of many corporate race-based and diversity policies that are now facing overwhelming legal scrutiny after the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year to strike down affirmative action, the policy by which colleges and universities across the country could make admissions decisions based solely on an applicant’s race.
The lawsuit against Gannett even referenced the Supreme Court, noting that the majority opinion stated that “eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it.”
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling, such corporate diversity policies are now “lawsuits waiting to happen,” said Noah Peters, former solicitor of the Federal Labor Relations Authority.