CBS Hit With Sexual Harrassment Suit – Come On, This is the Twenty First Century and This is Still Happening?? – Gene Ross

Philadelphia- from – KYW Newsradio’s slogan may be “All News. All the Time.” But one former female executive says that sexual innuendo and inappropriateness are just as prevalent as the station’s trademark teletype sound.

Shelley Kanther [pictured], 36, has filed a federal suit against KYW owner CBS Radio, alleging that she endured “severe and pervasive” sexual harassment while employed as director of marketing communications from April 2009 until August 2010, when she says she was illegally terminated in retaliation for her complaints about the station’s work environment.

In the suit, Kanther says that male members of the KYW sales staff engaged in such locker room behavior as guessing the bra sizes of women in the office, slapping Kanther’s rear, asking whether she was a “natural redhead,” commenting on her calves, and referring to her as “cutey” and “baby.”

Kanther maintains that station management didn’t just allow or condone this behavior, but actually contributed to it. During one meeting in station vice-president David Yadgaroff’s office, Kanther says that the conversation took a sexual turn when one employee began talking about a sexual encounter he had had in the office with someone from WIP. According to Kanther, Yadgaroff told her to cover her ears.

She specifically calls out senior vice-president Marc Rayfield, to whom Kanther directly reported, calling him “one of the worst offenders.”

In the suit, Kanther says that Rayfield made comments about kissing her in advance of a business retreat to Atlantic City. During a karaoke event at the retreat, Rayfield sang “Stay With Me Tonight” (no word on whether it was the Human League, Quiet Riot, or Jeffrey Osborne version) while “suggestively dancing in front of her,” according to the suit. Kanther also details a loud phone conversation Rayfield had with his office door open, the subject of which was allegedly the sex acts he performed (or, rather, that were performed on him) while on a trip out west.

In addition to the allegations of sexual harassment that appear in the suit, Kanther adds that she was also severely underpaid. She says that her starting salary of $58,000 was three to six times less than what the station’s other department heads were paid (all of whom were male), and that this violated the Equal Pay Act.

Kanther complained about the work environment to anyone in management who would listen (and some who wouldn’t) but says that instead of doing anything about the problem, they labeled her a “complainer.” When Rayfield terminated her in August 2010, Kanther remembers him saying, “It is not a good fit … You couldn’t take it.”