The San Diego Reader is being sued by three female former employees in its sales department for gender discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Kelly Bonelli, Amy McKibben and Beth Wexler all say publisher Jim Holman fostered a “boys club” environment at the paper–which only became worse with the hiring of John-Paul Franklin as sales manager in 2008.
“For many years, women seemed to be tolerated, but not equal to men,” the lawsuit states. “The environment became noticeably worse in 2008 when JP Franklin became the manger [sic] of the sales department…. Franklin has and displayed a very ‘bullying’ style of management, and it is ostensibly directed more toward women than men.”
As examples, the plaintiffs say that Franklin would regularly engage in casual conversations with male staff, but abruptly stopped whenever a woman tried to join in. He “frequently” went to lunch with male employees, but rarely included female workers. Franklin is currently listed on the Reader masthead as “general manager.”
Franklin’s alleged conduct included, “telling women sales is a ‘man’s world,’ withholding new sales promotions from women until after a man or men had been able to sell the new offer to one of their clients, and displaying favoritism toward men when re-assigning accounts.”
The Reader has yet to respond to Maass’ story.