5:43pm PT by Alex Ben Block
'Cops' Producer Hit With Age Discrimination Lawsuit
A 22-year employee of the production company behind Cops, the long running Fox reality show, has filed a lawsuit charging he was wrongfully terminated because he was over 40 years old.
Steven W. Kiger, 57, says in a suit filed Thursday in Los Angels Superior Court that he had an “exemplary track record” at Langley Productions, which produces Cops, but was fired in the fall of 2010 because Langley “adopted an illegal policy of ridding itself of older workers in favor of younger workers,” according to the suit.
Kiger says management had recognized him for excellent work and put him the “top tier of shooters,” people who capture the show's police action with their cameras. He was making $95,000 a year plus performance bonuses as an associate producer, the suit claims.
The suit also cites an email that it says was sent to financial giant Morgan Stanley in which a Langley executive wrote: “We look for young guys who are hungry, who will work for less $$.”
The suit alleges that the Cops production violated public policy as stated in the Fair Employment & Housing Act, the Older Workers Protection Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and other state and federal statutes.
The conduct by the production company “constituted oppression, fraud and malice,” says the suit, “and was motivated by hostility and ill will” entitling Kiger to punitive damages. Fox is not named as a defendant in the suit.
A call to Langley Productions was not immediately returned.