Rudy Miller settles discrimination suit against WBAL

July 03, 1992|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Television Critic

Anchorwoman Rudy Miller and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have settled their sex discrimination suits against WBAL-TV (Channel 11) and its former general manager Malcolm Potter, the station announced yesterday.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

"All claims have been dismissed . . . without any admission of liability by WBAL or Potter," Channel 11 said in a prepared statement issued late yesterday afternoon.

"I can't comment beyond that release," Station Manager Joseph Heston said yesterday. "Both parties -- us and Rudy -- have agreed not to comment about the settlement. . . . The amount of the settlement is not something we want to discuss. . . . We're pleased that it's settled. And we want to move forward from here."

Neither Ms. Miller nor her attorney, Pamela J. White, could be reached for comment last night.

Ms. Miller, 42, alleged in a suit filed 2 1/2 years ago that she was paid tens of thousands of dollars less than male anchors at WBAL and was later joined in her complaint by the EEOC, which said at the time that it wanted to "send a message" to the television industry about sex discrimination.

EEOC Chairman Evan J. Kemp Jr., reached at his Washington home early last evening, said he was not aware the Miller case had been settled and referred questions about the case to the EEOC's Baltimore office. A recorded message there said the office was closed for the day, and efforts to reach the EEOC attorneys handling the case were unsuccessful.

Mr. Kemp said it was "fairly common" for the terms of a settlement to be kept confidential.

One source close to the situation estimated the settlement at half a million dollars, but added that lawyers fees could account for as much as $200,000 of that. The settlement does not include reinstatement for Miller at Channel 11, which was one of the demands of the EEOC suit. Miller is currently co-host of of the early morning show on WMAR-TV (Channel 2). Channel 2 said yesterday that she is going to continue in that job.

Miller worked as a news anchor at WBAL from 1980 until her dismissal in 1989. At the time of her dismissal, Miller was earning $141,000 a year, while the station's two male anchors were making $190,000 and $195,000 respectively, according to court documents.

WBAL did not deny that it paid Ms. Miller less money than its male anchors, but said the disparity was not the result of sex discrimination but rather Ms. Miller's refusal to anchor its 11 p.m. newscast, which is the most lucrative of its news shows.

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