According to an in-depth article by Variety, one of the world’s most leading entertainment companies Live Nation has been sued by a furloughed executive, Candace Newman, “who alleges that she was retaliated against for complaining about race and gender discrimination in the workplace, then cut loose with coronavirus-related staff reductions cited as the excuse.”
The suit, which was filed this past Wednesday July 8, according to the aforementioned Variety article “…in L.A. County Superior Court, the attorneys for Newman, who is Black, contend that although ‘over half of the Live Nation artists are Black,’ the company ‘fosters a toxic work environment of harassment, discrimination, and retaliating against employees, like Plaintiff, who complain about a lack of diversity and race discrimination in the workplace.'”
As previously noted in the aforementioned press release, “This case epitomizes the issue at the heart of the Black Lives Matter movement — systemic racism,” the lawsuit contends right at the outset.” Live Nation has been hit quite extensively as far as finances are concerned. As previously reported here on mxdwn, “Live Nation has hit difficult financial times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with its stock dropping by 50 percent in the event’s wake. The company was forced to cancel all tours this year and recently had $500 million of its stock purchased by Saudi Arabia, who are trying to boost its tourism industry, in spite of its controversial human rights record. The company has enacted various measures to raise funds such as considering drive-in concerts and selling 800 million in bonds for ‘general corporate purposes.'”
The aforementioned Variety article furthers that, “The lawsuit alleges ‘wrongful termination in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act’ as one of its claims. But, in a response provided to Variety, Live Nation says that’s baseless because Newman hasn’t actually been fired.
‘”We were surprised by Ms. Newman’s claim of wrongful termination, as she is still an employee at Live Nation,” the company said in its statement. ‘With concerts on pause due to the pandemic we unfortunately had to implement furloughs across our company, most heavily impacting our concerts division, but our furloughed staff are still valued employees, receiving healthcare and other benefits.'”
According to Variety, Newman who has been with Live Nation as an employee for 11 years starting as “…an executive assistant and rising through the ranks until she was ultimately named director, US concerts and touring, last year.
According to the court papers, Newman was ‘scrutinized and criticized far more harshly than her non-Black and/or male peers. When she finally reached a point where she could no longer tolerate this unfair treatment, Ms. Newman made a formal complaint of discrimination and retained counsel to protect her rights. In a blatant and malicious act of retaliation, Live Nation turned the investigation on her, alleging that she had created the ‘hostile work environment.’ Live Nation terminated her employment under the guise of a ‘furlough’ due to Covid-19.”
The Variety article concludes with, “Newman submitted a complaint in February of this year, the suit says, believing that she was in danger of being unfairly terminated. Shortly after stay-at-home orders were put into effect in March, she was put on leave and told an investigation had been put into effect concerning her allegedly creating a hostile work environment. Her own complaints were dismissed while those against her continued to be investigated, she said.
On June 18, Newman was told she was being furloughed, effective July 1. ‘”Ms. Newman is aware of other non-Black and/or male employees who had not complained of discrimination, and who were not furloughed and continue to work at Live Nation despite the pandemic,'” the suit says.
Newman’s attorneys, Toni J. Jaramilla and May Mallari, ask the court for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages as well as an injunction against discriminatory and retaliatory practices at the company, among other requests.
Live Nation announced in May that it would be furloughing 20 percent of its full-time staff. Further announcements about staff reductions have not been made.'”