A reporter recently laid off by KSL radio has no intention of going gentle into that good night.
Robert G. Schildmeyer, a 15-year veteran at the station, is seeking a temporary restraining order preventing KSL radio from firing him. Schildmeyer, 46, filed a $1 million age discrimination suit against KSL radio and Bonneville Corp. in 1989. Schildmeyer claimed discrimination because KSL radio passed him over for the station manager's job in 1988 in favor of Rod Arquette, a younger man who was not employed by the station at the time.Nearly a year later, KSL radio demoted Schildmeyer from his position of managing editor to an entry-level staff position and cut his salary by one-third, his suit said. Following the demotion, Schildmeyer filed the suit in U.S. District Court.
In requesting a temporary restraining order, Schildmeyer's attorneys claim that KSL fired Schildmeyer last week in retaliation for his discrimination suit against the station. Although Schildmeyer was one of four reporters laid off by KSL on April 26, Schildmeyer was the only one of the four told to clean out his desk that day and not return to work until May 3 when the station would interview applicants for three new jobs, the brief said.
KSL reporters Charla Haley, Andy McQuinn and Greg Wrubell also lost their jobs in the station reorganization. After eliminating the four positions, the station created three new positions similar to the ones eliminated and invited the fired employees to apply for them.
Asked if the former employees applying for the new positions would have to take pay cuts if hired, Arquette replied, "It depends on who applies."
Arquette denied that the reorganization was a move to get rid of Schildmeyer. But Schildmeyer and his lawyers filed affidavits in federal court to support their claim that the layoff was an act of retaliation.
According to the affidavits, Bonneville International attorney Boyd Hawkins threatened Schildmeyer on March 7 saying, "We're going to get Bob Schildmeyer under our heel and crush his head."
The affidavits state Hawkins made the threat to Schildmeyer and his attorneys, Roger H. Hoole and Mark R. Madsen, after a hearing in which Madsen and Hoole accused KSL radio of altering documents. Pointing to Schildmeyer, Hawkins said, "He will not get another job anywhere. This company will not guarantee his financial security," the affidavits said.
Schildmeyer contends that Bonneville International carried out its threat and had him fired. U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene has scheduled a hearing Monday at 2 p.m. to consider Schildmeyer's request for a restraining order and preliminary injunction against the station.