A CNN staffer in Atlanta claims his boss recently threatened to kill him over a racial discrimination claim that the employee filed against the network earlier this year.
As a result, he filed a lawsuit against his employer in May.
In a separate suit filed last month, Walker claims that Whit Friese, his supervisor and a vice president at the network, approached him in the men’s restroom and told him to stop pursuing the May suit.
“Just drop it,” Friese allegedly told him.
Walker claims he responded, “Or?”
Then, he says his boss walked up to him at the urinal and replied: “If you f— with my money, I will kill you.”
Following the alleged incident, Walker reported the conversation to the human resources office at CNN, according to the Journal-Constitution.
The following day, he says he was placed on administrative leave from his position as a manager of integrated marketing.
Though the staffer is still being paid, he has effectively been removed from his position at the network, he claims.
“It’s a travesty and a sham,” Walker’s attorney, Mario Williams, told the Journal-Constitution.
“You’re using an administrative process to punish a person who made the complaint. The next best thing to firing someone is keeping him out of the office on administrative leave with pay even though he’s the victim.”
More than three months following the alleged conversation, Friese has not been punished or reprimanded for making the threat, according to Walker.
However, CNN has refuted both Walker’s original claims of discrimination, as well as his claim that he was threatened.
“It is not our practice to comment on legal or personnel matters, but these outrageous and damaging claims merit a response,” Barbara Levin, a vice president for communications at CNN, said in a statement.
“The accusations by Mr. Walker are entirely false, both with regards to his personal career development and the slanderous allegation against a co-worker that never happened. They are the latest in more than five years of claims that have been consistently rejected by the courts and the EEOC. We will vigorously defend this suit in court.”
In response to one of Walker’s prior claims that he missed out on promotions due to his race, a federal judge ruled last year that the staffer lacked the right qualifications for seven out of the nine positions he applied for.
But Williams claimed in the May suit that Walker has applied for about 28 jobs at CNN over the years, and “has never been contacted for a vast majority of his applications.”
“Defendants muzzle African Americans who settle lawsuits by insisting on non-disclosure agreements that stop African Americans from being able to discuss their experiences of racial discrimination,” Walker’s latest suit reads, according to the Journal-Constitution.
“The latest lawsuit by Walker said any minorities who complain about their treatment at the company are placed on a list called “BOLO,” or ‘Be On the Lookout For,'” the newspaper reported.
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