On Might 2, Dorian Hargrove tweeted he was “tremendous excited” about leaving NBC San Diego and “even happier” to disclose he was becoming a member of rival CBS8 (simply 3.4 miles away).
The award-winning journalist’s pleasure got here into sharper focus simply over a month later.
On June 6, Hargrove filed swimsuit towards NBC Common, the father or mother of his outdated station, KNSD, alleging “constructive termination” by NBC. Additionally named as defendants are his former bosses, Greg Dawson and Chuck Westerheide.
By way of his lawyer, Marlea Francesca Dell’Anno, Hargrove, 45, seeks a jury trial in San Diego Superior Court docket, claiming NBC7/39 violated state anti-discrimination legal guidelines and ran a hostile office.
He’s asking for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages together with attorneys charges in a case assigned to Decide Timothy Taylor.
Dawson, in a authorized submitting, referred to as the swimsuit “frivolous, unfounded and unreasonable” — and requested for an award of attorneys charges and prices “upon judgment in [his] favor.”
A longtime author for San Diego Reader, Hargrove grew to become a narrative himself after he was publicly denounced by Mayor Todd Gloria and Metropolis Lawyer Mara Elliott for reporting the notorious “Footnote 15,” which they stated was fabricated.
In September 2020, amid a heated mayor race, Hargrove revealed a leaked memo by outside-the-city attorneys wanting into the controversial metropolis buy of the ill-fated 101 Ash Road property.
“Footnote 15 … raised questions on whether or not now-Mayor Todd Gloria withheld details about the Ash Road deal from the general public and fellow council members when it was authorized in 2016,” the Union-Tribune reported. “He has stated he didn’t.”
The footnote additionally stated Elliott helped defend Gloria from investigators for Burke, Williams & Sorensen, the Los Angeles regulation agency employed by the town in 2019 to look at the transaction and write the report, the U-T stated.
Within the wake of official pushback, KNSD retracted the story and suspended Hargrove and investigative journalist Tom Jones.
Hargrove went again to work, however employed a lawyer to sue Metropolis Lawyer Elliott, saying she violated his First Modification rights by pressuring NBC San Diego.
However in mid-December 2021, federal Decide Cathy Ann Bencivengo granted the town of San Diego’s movement to dismiss the lawsuit.
Now Hargrove goes after his outdated employer.
The swimsuit says that on Might 6, 2021, NBC San Diego harassed Hargrove due to his incapacity (results of a horrific mind damage in 2009), age, household care or medical depart “and consequently … was reprimanded, suspended, demoted … [and] denied work alternatives or assignments.”
When Hargrove returned to NBC, the swimsuit says, station Vice President Dawson “imposed new restrictions on Mr. Hargrove’s beforehand imposed self-discipline, most notably prohibiting Mr. Hargrove … from submitting Public Data Act requests to the town — even in his capability of a personal citizen.”
Hargrove complained in regards to the restricted entry to metropolis authorities, “however his grievance fell on deaf ears,” the swimsuit says.
In contrast, his NBC colleague Tom Jones, who helped on the 101 Ash story (and likewise was suspended), returned to NBC to a greater place than Hargrove, the swimsuit says.
“As a substitute, Mr. Hargrove was instructed he needed to ship his pitches to the information managers, who repeatedly ignored them,” the swimsuit says. “On not less than one event, Mr. Hargrove was reprimanded for a narrative that he pitched.”
Hargrove finally complained to NBC’s Ethics Division about what he referred to as unfair therapy, the swimsuit says, however “the hostile actions intensified.”
At one level, in keeping with the 15-page grievance, Dawson in contrast Hargrove to a “product defect” just like one present in manufacturing and that his earlier tales needs to be reviewed.
“Mr. Hargrove objected to being referred to as a ‘product defect’ whereas HR Director [Nirupama] Hedge sat silently and didn’t say a phrase to Dawson about name-calling an worker in such an abusive method,” the swimsuit says.
Being labeled a “defect” disturbed Hargrove deeply, “sending him right into a darkish place emotionally” and — unable to take any extra abuse and humiliation — forcing him to go on psychological well being depart as a “results of his extreme melancholy.”
(Whereas on depart, Hargrove realized that his workforce had received a nationwide Edward R. Murrow Award for a web-based collection on human trafficking. “In Dawson’s congratulatory message to the newsroom, Dawson noticeably left Hargrove out,” the swimsuit says.)
Hargrove and his lawyer haven’t responded to requests for remark, with Dell’Anno (who received her personal current case towards the Metropolis Lawyer’s Workplace) saying she couldn’t deal with questions till this weekend.
One query is: Why does the lawsuit notice that Dawson is married to San Diego Deputy Metropolis Lawyer Joan Dawson, “who works within the Civil Division of the Metropolis Lawyer’s workplace carefully with Metropolis Lawyer Mara Elliott”?
For its half, KNSD declined to touch upon the case. NBC attorneys Adrienne L. Conrad, Jaclyn M. Reinhart and Raina Sharma didn’t reply to requests for remark.
However authorized filings final month reveal how the station, Dawson and Westerheide (now a spokesman for the County of San Diego) are responding to the swimsuit.
“Plaintiff did not exhaust the executive cures required underneath any and all relevant state and/or federal legal guidelines, together with, however not restricted to, the California Truthful Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and California Authorities Code sections 12960 and 12965,” says a 10-page reply to the grievance on Aug. 17.
In truth, Hargrove obtained a “right-to-sue” discover from the state June 6.
The reply additionally argues that Hargrove’s claims are barred “by the relevant statute of limitations.”
However the state instructed Hargrove’s lawyer: “The worker’s statute of limitations to file a civil motion, together with for all associated claims not arising underneath part 12945.2, is tolled from DFEH’s receipt of a mediation request underneath part 12945.21 till mediation is full.”
On Aug. 22, Westerheide stated although his personal lawyer, Noah J. Woods, that “NBC didn’t obtain discover from Plaintiff that any worker or managing agent of Defendant had allegedly engaged in any discriminatory, harassing or retaliatory actions towards Plaintiff based mostly upon his bodily incapacity, psychological incapacity, medical situation, age, or for some other purpose and Plaintiff unreasonably did not complain of any alleged illegal conduct to reap the benefits of the preventative or corrective alternatives out there and/or in any other case keep away from hurt.”
No trial date has been set.