Workplace

Jury splits verdict in Channel 41 reporter’s race discrimination and retaliation case

Lisa Benson Cooper, who goes by Lisa Benson, left KSHB, Channel 41, last year amid the court battle over her claims of race discrimination.
Lisa Benson Cooper, who goes by Lisa Benson, left KSHB, Channel 41, last year amid the court battle over her claims of race discrimination.

A federal jury late Friday rendered a split verdict in the race discrimination and retaliation case former KSHB reporter Lisa Benson Cooper had brought against the Scripps Media television station, according to reports.

Cooper, who goes by Lisa Benson, had claimed the station discriminated against her because of her race and later retaliated against her.

The jury found that the television station had not discriminated against Benson, who is African American, but did retaliate against her, according to a report by KCUR. Its report said Benson was awarded $201,000 in actual and punitive damages.

Attorneys for Benson could not be reached Saturday.

KCUR quoted Benson’s attorney Marty Meyers saying, “We felt strongly that they retaliated and the jury agreed with us.”

KSHB reported the verdicts had been reached about 10 p. m. Friday.

Scott McIntyre, an attorney for Scripps, provided a statement Saturday.

“As has been made clear during this trial, KSHB is committed to the highest standards of journalistic and organizational integrity,” the statement said. “While the station had hoped for a swift resolution of all the claims, we appreciate that the jury affirmed that KSHB’s actions had nothing to do with race. We are confident that future litigation will reinforce our commitment to diversity and fairness.”

Benson’s lawsuit had claimed she was passed over for promotions and that her race was “constantly used” in assigning topics and locations for stories she would cover.

Benson announced in June 2018 that she had left the station after more than 14 years. The lawsuit added claims that the station had terminated her employment in retaliation for filing the discrimination case.

Channel 41 sports reporter Demetrice “Dee” Jackson also has sued the station charging race discrimination. The case is still underway.

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Mark Davis writes about business for The Kansas City Star with attention to Sprint, investing, the economy and scams. He has been a winner and finalist in national competitions held by the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing.


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