Former ABC12 Reporter/Anchor, Leslie Toldo, Settles Lawsuit With Station for $80,000

In the Media:

Description of Case:


     Plaintiff Leslie Toldo was a well-liked local news personality, with loyal viewers and a relatable public image. She is well-known and respected as a person who will speak her mind when something or somebody is wronged. For 10 years she was the meteorologist, co-anchor, and segment creator for the local ABC station. She loved her job, the community loved her work, her work was nationally praised with an Emmy nomination, and, before she stood up against gender and racial bias, her employers praised her too; placing her at the top of the pay scale and called her “the future” of the Station.

     However, in 2014, shortly after receiving her last raise, Toldo complained three separate times about the preferential treatment she witnessed being given to male and African-American employees. She complained that decisions about work rules in the workplace, attendance rules, vacation rules, etc., were being decided with what appeared to be race and/or gender being used as a factor. She specifically complained that white women were on the bottom of the totem pole at the station. Not surprisingly, all Leslie wanted was to be treated equally.

     Her male supervisor didn’t like Leslie standing up for her rights. Less than 20 days after her last complaint to her male manager, Leslie Toldo was informed that her contract was not going to be renewed, and she was immediately "escorted" out of the building, and a ban was placed on talking to her. She was treated like a thief. Defendants were so mad that Leslie Toldo spoke up against them they also banned from the building, contrary to the station's current and past-practice of letting African-Americans finish out their contract terms after being non-renewed. Also, Defendant station enforced the Non-Compete Agreement against Leslie, something that they waived for employees.

     Defendants’ arguments failed at the summary disposition stage, and, shortly before the trial date, the case settled through ADR for $79,901.

     Shortly after being fired, Leslie Toldo was offered a position as a regular contributor and meteorologist at a competing news station in the same market, NBC 25.

Overview of Case:

Type of Action: ELCRA race and gender discrimination

Injuries Alleged: Wrongful discharge from approximately $80k/year on-air position

Name of Case: Leslie Toldo v,WJRT, INC., et al

Court: Genesee County Circuit Court

Case No: 14-103171-CZ

Tried Before: N/A

Name of Judge: Hon. Geoffrey Neithercut

Jury Verdict: N/A

Date of ADR Settlement: 11/10/2015

Offer to Settle: N/A

Most Helpful Experts: N/A

Allocation of Fault: N/A

Insurance Carrier: N/A

Attorney for Plaintiff: Tom R. Pabst, Michael A. Kowalko and Jarrett M. Pabst

Attorney for Defendants: Withheld

Key to Winning: Thorough discovery which turner up key discrepancies in Defendants' own documents