95.7 FM The Game

Ralph Barbieri suing Cumulus/KNBR for $10MM, once made $380K per year

Now we know what Ralph Barbieri will talk about on 95.7 FM The Game. Barbieri is shooting for $10 million in a suit filed today by his lawyer, Angela Alioto at San Francisco Superior Court. The suit can be viewed here, includes several very interesting notes, including:

— “On November 1st, 2007, Barbieri and the predecessor in interest of the Defendants entered into a written four (4) year employment contract for an annual salary of $380,000, a far cry from the previous $3.00 an hour. Whether at $3.00 an hour or $380,000 a year, Barbieri loved his job.”

(Note: the $3.00 per hour is in reference to his earnings at his “first regular radio talk show at K108” in Hawaii.)

— “On February 15th, 2006, Barbieri was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Barbieri did not disclose this diagnosis to his superiors as he was afraid of adverse employment consequences. However, he did confide in his radio partner, Tom Tolbert. Eventually, on May 19th, 2011 and August 2nd, 2011, he did tell all of the defendants. The disabilities have never in any way prevented Barbieri from performing the essential duties of the job, which he did until the day he was wrongfully terminated on April 10th, 2012. In fact, his partner of 15 years, Tom Tolbert, upon hearin of Barbieri’s termination stated “he is still as energetic as ever.”

(Note: emphasis seen in the lawsuit itself.)

— “In September 2010, Barbieri learned he had Diabetes II. He did not tell anyone at the workplace.”

— According to the suit, Lew Dickey “told Barbieri he could count on having his job at least until Barbieri’s son completed his education.”

— “Relying upon the promise of Defendant Dickey, Barbieri enrolled his son, Tayte, in a private middle school that charged tuition of $30,000. To address a learning disability, Barbieri arranged for special testing, which cost approximately $10,000.”

— Bill Bungeroth and Lee Hammer repeatedly questioned Barbieri’s health and energy level on the air over Barbieri’s last year at KNBR. “Bungeroth yelled at Barbieri: ‘You do not have enough energy. What is wrong with you? We have some competition now, the new station across the street (95.7).’

— “The Plaintiff was concerned his Parkinson’s disease would be discovered by bloggers would then (sic) publicize it.”

— Barbieri claims Hammer was “spying on him” in response to his frequent tardiness, listing all of the times Barbieri’s car came into the parking lot. “According to the email, the surveillance of Barbieri’s car started on August 14th, 2011, 12 days after he had informed them of Parkinson’s and 2 and a half months after they learned of the Diabetes II.

— After disclosing his diabilities, Barbieri claims Cumulus refused to renew his four-year contract, instead going with “a one year agreement, with a three month probationary period and a substantial pay cut, i.e. approximately 1/3 of his previous earnings.”

— The suit claims that “clock-management issues are akin to “holding” calls in football; one could call them on virtually every play, if one wanted to.”

— Barbieri takes 81 pills a day.

— The suit lists seven ways Barbieri suffered workplace harassment:

A. Yelling at Plaintiff;

B. Micro-managing his work;

C. Imposing meritless, petty discipline;

D. Disciplining Plaintiff for using the restroom;

E. Malicious “jokes” and ridicule;

F. Public humiliation; and

G. Surveillance.

— “The Plaintiff hereby requests a trial by jury.


“WHEREFOR, the Plaintiff requests the following relief: Ten million dollars.”

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