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NPR Veteran Files Suit Alleging Sex Discrimination

April 20, 1995

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Katie Davis, who spent 15 years as a journalist with National Public Radio, filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that NPR discriminated against her.

She said NPR failed to promote her to a permanent reporting position and paid her less than men in comparable jobs.

Davis, 35, sued in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking a permanent reporting job and $1.2 million in back pay and damages.

Formerly temporary host of ``Weekend All Things Considered″ and a reporter for ``Morning Edition,″ Davis alleges that NPR’s treatment of her was part of a pattern of discrimination against female reporters.

``Over that last five-year period, I watched more than a handful of men walk into NPR, have less experience than me and get a permanent position on staff,″ Davis said in an interview. ``Time after time, I was either not considered or turned down for a position or not cultivated for a position. I got tired of trying to work it out with them.″

Davis’ lawyer, Lynne Bernabei, said she was also filing a sex discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Bernabei said that at one point Davis was earning $15,000 less than a male temporary host.

In response to the suit, NPR issued a statement saying that it had paid Davis ``at exactly the same level of compensation as her male counterparts with the same years of journalistic experience.″

The network also said that it had offered her a permanent general assignment reporter’s position on the Washington desk on Jan. 25 ``at a salary substantially above minimum for the position as befits Ms. Davis’ experience.″ The position was held open for her for three months, NPR said.

Davis joined NPR in 1981, while still in college. Between then and 1995, she held positions as a freelance reporter, production assistant, associate producer, foreign reporter, Washington reporter and host.

Some of those jobs were permanent, according to the lawsuit. For example, Davis gave up the permanent position of associate producer of ``Weekend All Things Considered″ in 1989 to take a one-year leave of absence to obtain foreign reporting experience.

Most recently, Davis said, she had been working under a three-month contract, which NPR declined to renew in March. She left the network March 17.

``I probably shouldn’t have stayed around so long. I tried to work it out,″ she said. ``I love what they do there. I didn’t want to leave.″

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