Former Time magazine journalist sues publication for sex and age discrimination

A leading journalist is suing her former employer, Time magazine, alleging the popular publication practiced age and gender discrimination, The Guardian has reported.

Working at Time since 2004, Britain-based journalist Catherine Mayer claims that problems arose after she was appointed to the role of Europe’s regional editor. Time‘s foreign editor allegedly made Matt McAllester—a younger male counterpart—her deputy without an open selection process. This arrangement was in violation of an agreement that she could select her own team, the suit alleges.

Mayer claims that Time took away her responsibilities a year after she accepted the regional editor position, then pushed her to give up her title and gave it to McAllester. The company fired her in April 2015.

Time has violated [anti-discrimination and civil rights] laws by operating a system of male cronyism, by which men, especially former war correspondents, were favored over women in recruitment, dismissal, and promotion decisions],” the suit reads.

Mayer also accuses McAllester of harboring a toxic work environment. The suit recalls how one employee at the London office was afraid to be alone with McAllester and how they eventually resigned without any job prospects. Mayer claims that international editor Jim Frederick provided no support when she raised concerns about McAllester.

“He responded simply, ‘You are two of my favorite people and I am sure you will find a way to work things out,’” she said.

The journalist told The Guardian that the job left her with serious health issues including depression, migraines, and insomnia. She also mentioned that the timing of her dismissal was incredibly detrimental as it coincided with the release of Charles: The Heart of a King, her controversial biography of Prince Charles.

The suit claims, “[It] had a negative impact on book sales and her reputation, since many assumed Time had terminated her because her research for the book was defective or for other performance-related reasons.”

The lawsuit was filed on July 24 in New York, where Time‘s head offices are located. Mayer said she had hoped for a private settlement but, after two years, legal deadlines were approaching and filing in the United States meant the suit would be public.

“There was never a point when I accepted this was a valid redundancy, and never a point when I didn’t fight back,” Mayer commented. “If this is happening to me, what is it like to be someone less well-defended than me?”

Time and McAllester, now editor-in-chief of Newsweek, have declined to comment on the lawsuit or Mayer’s allegations.

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