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'American Idol' sued for discrimination

Indiana fans of "American Idol" may have heard that 10 black former contestants filed suit against the show. They claim race discrimination in the lawsuit, the filing of which coincided with the 13th season of the talent show. All of the plaintiffs had been disqualified from the contest over the six seasons prior to the filing for reasons other than their singing, including one plaintiff's alleged criminal history.

The latest development in the case was the 10 plaintiffs being issued notices of their right to sue by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This allowed the 429-page lawsuit to move forward. FOX, the show and its producers recently changed lawyers, from an EEOC specialist to the trial attorney who successfully sued O.J. Simpson for the family of Ron Goldman.

According to the lawsuit, producers of American Idol have practiced a pattern of racial discrimination which arose from using the arrest history, not convictions, of black male singers against them. It alleged that 31 percent of all of the contest's black male semi-finalists were disqualified for reasons that were unrelated to their singing ability. Furthermore, the suit said that in 10 years, there had never been a single white or non-black contestant disqualified from the show.

It is unlawful for prospective employers to practice discrimination based on age, race, sex or religion in their hiring or firing of employees. An Indiana attorney with a background in the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Labor Act may be able to help individuals who have been the target of workplace discrimination.

Source: ABC News, "American Idol' discrimination suit moves forward", Luchina Fisher, September 23, 2013

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