KNBR

Angela Alioto: Ralph Barbieri a victim of disability and age discrimination

Found something quite interesting in the BASG comments this morning:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE APRIL 15TH, 2012
Contact: Angela Alioto, Joe Alioto Veronese, Steven L. Robinson Attorneys for Plaintiff
Phone: (415) 568-1533, (415) 434-8700
Email: angelaav@aol.com

Ralph Barbieri, Local Legend, Respected San Francisco Sportscaster, Proud Single Father And Member Of The Bay Area Radio Hall Of Fame, Was Illegally Terminated By Cumulus Inc. Of Atlanta Georgia, Susquehanna Radio Corp, And By Radio Station KNBR.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA– For 28 tumultuous years, native San Franciscan, Ralph Barbieri, lent his passionate opinions and his unique edgy voice to the radio airways on KNBR 680. In doing so he achieved phenomenal success and near legendary status, recently being inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall Of Fame.

Barbieri was the first broadcaster in the Bay Area to successfully do a sports talk show during afternoon drive commute hour, thereby paving the way for KNBR to turn into a 24-hour sports talk station. Throughout his entire career, whether alone or paired with Tom Tolbert as The Razor and Mr. T, his shows were always at or near the top of the ratings. KNBR and Barbieri seemed like a perfect match.

This is the same Ralph Barbieri who was wrongfully terminated for an alleged “cause”, ie. “for being late”. The termination is nothing less than Age Discrimination, Disability Discrimination, Breach of Good Faith And Fair Dealing, and Breach of Contract, inter alia. Barbieri is 66 years old and has a slow-developing form of Parkinson’s disease, which he spoke publicly about for the first time last October, 2011. As a result of this wrongful termination, Barbieri has lost his entire salary and all health benefits.

On Tuesday, April 10th, 2012, Barbieri was summoned into the Market Manager’s office and was told that he was terminated, effective “immediately”. He was stunned; after 28 years it was over in a flash. Then, he was escorted off the premises, like a common criminal.

Barbieri’s contract does not end until October 31st, 2012. Indeed, just two months ago, on February 1st, 2012, Barbieri was given a bonus for his stellar performance.

According to Barbieri’s attorney, Angela Alioto, “The action by KNBR , Susquehanna Radio Corp., and Cumulus. Inc, sends the message loud and clear that if you are 66 years old and have a disability, “we don’t want you anymore”. The message we will send, right back to them, loud and clear, is that this type of despicable illegal behavior will not be tolerated in the City and County of San Francisco.”

Angela Alioto

Looks legit to me, but I’m not a lawyer. If this release is truly the start of a lawsuit, “Ralph Barbieri vs. KNBR/Cumulus” could be the area’s most explosive legal battle in quite some time (well, besides the Ross Mirkarimi mess). Some extremely interesting things to note from the release, which linked to this website.

1. If we’re to believe this release, Barbieri was fired with cause: “for being late.”

2. “He was escorted off the premises, like a common criminal.” That’s powerful language. However, most people who are terminated are escorted off the premises. Did some brutish bouncer-types drag Barbieri out of the building, kicking and screaming?

3. This statement sets the stage for a lawsuit on the grounds of disability discrimination AND age discrimination.

4. “As a result of this wrongful termination, Barbieri has lost his entire salary and all health benefits.” No surprise on the benefits, but does this mean Barbieri wasn’t given any severance? If KNBR/Cumulus tried to hand Barbieri “about 100 pages of legal documents” and state that his workplace indiscretions absolved the company from paying him anything beyond April 10, it isn’t surprising that Barbieri isn’t going away quietly.

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