Demetria Kalodimos, age 58, worked as an anchor for Nashville’s WSMV-TV for 33 years.
After the Meredith Corp.-owned station failed to renew her contract, she sued for age and gender discrimination.
Among her allegations:
- In 2014, after Kalodimos “made clear” that she would not retire, the station hired the younger Tracy Kornet to replace her as lead anchor.
- In an ad announcing Kornet’s hiring, Kornet said that “she watched Kalodimos deliver the news ‘a million years ago’ when she was 17.”
- Producers told Kalodimos that they were “under pressure from Channel 4 management to ‘showcase’ Ms. Kornet over Ms. Kalodimos.”
- Management moved Kalodimos to a smaller, non-private office, while younger on-air talent received private offices.
The straw the broke the camel’s back, according to The Tennessean? The station notified her of her termination with a letter left on her desk — “no conversation, no face to face meeting, no thanks.”
There is a right way and wrong way to fire someone.
The right way—a thank you, a severance package, and some dignity—goes a long way to the relationship ending amicably and without a lawsuit.
The wrong way — a “Dear John” termination letter (or, worse, an email or text message), a perp walk, and zero dignity — leads to bad feelings and lawsuits.
Some employees deserve to be shown the door swiftly and coarsely. They stole, they harassed someone, they assaulted someone.
But for most terminations — the “you’re not a good fit,” the “it just isn’t working out,” the “we’re going in a different direction” — you want to do what you can to avoid litigation.
And firing a 33-year employee by leaving a note on her desk is just the slap in the face that will get you slapped with a summons.