Saturday, June 9, 2012

Weather Channel Anchor Claims She Was Fired Due To Status as Air Force Reservist

US Air Force Reserve Officer and Weather Channel anchor Nicole Mitchell is filing suit against the Atlanta-based NBC subsidiary network for not renewing her contract due to her military obligations.
The suit claims that when NBC/Universal bought The Weather Channel in 2008, Mitchell was told by the new management that her military schedule "impacts everyone."

She allegedly was harassed for meeting her military obligations, told to clear any military assignments in advance and given less desirable shifts. Mitchell said she eventually was told there was no longer a place for her at The Weather Channel. Management cited "business reasons" and said there were no performance or ratings issues with Mitchell, the press release says. Mitchell said on her Facebook page she has e-mails from the company that clearly violate the Uniformed Services Employment Act.
Currently a major-select- is assigned to the 403rd wing Hurricane Hunters at Keesler AFB [which you'd think would be a natural fit for a reservist working for the Weather Channel- NANESB], Mitchell pointed out on her Facebook account that the Atlanta-based network would be in violation of The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 by not renewing her contract due to her Air Force reserve obligations. USERRA prohibits an employer from discriminating against an applicant or current employees based on their military service. According to the suit, Weather Channel producers would often complain of having to adjust the network's schedule based on her reserve obligations.

Curiously, the Weather Channel would sometimes include images of Mitchell serving with the USAF's Hurricane Hunters in their promotional materiel prior to her contract not being renewed. It's also worth noting that the same network who decided to hire Keith Olbermann's 25 year old girlfriend in 2009 saw Mitchell's service as an imepdiment to her continued employment with the Weather Channel.

Mitchell's suit comes around the same time as an aspiring Boston firefighter and veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan was spurned from renting an available apartment by an anti-war activist landlady who learned of his military service.

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