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Ralph Barbieri, KNBR Appear Headed For Court Battle

Ralph Barbieri was recently let go by KNBR, and he's not taking his dismissal all too well. It appears that he's ready to go to court over what happened with regards to his termination.

Al Saracevic of the San Francisco Chronicle files this report detailing the dueling cases on both sides. (HT to Bay Area Sports Guy).

[Part of Barbieri side's statement]

This is the same Ralph Barbieri who was wrongfully terminated for an alleged "cause", ie. "for being late". The termination is nothing less than Age Discrimination, Disability Discrimination, Breach of Good Faith And Fair Dealing, and Breach of Contract, inter alia. Barbieri is 66 years old and has a slow-developing form of Parkinson’s disease, which he spoke publicly about for the first time last October, 2011. As a result of this wrongful termination, Barbieri has lost his entire salary and all health benefits.

On Tuesday, April 10th, 2012, Barbieri was summoned into the Market Manager’s office and was told that he was terminated, effective "immediately". He was stunned; after 28 years it was over in a flash. Then, he was escorted off the premises, like a common criminal.

Barbieri’s contract does not end until October 31st, 2012. Indeed, just two months ago, on February 1st, 2012, Barbieri was given a bonus for his stellar performance.

According to Barbieri’s attorney, Angela Alioto, "The action by KNBR , Susquehanna Radio Corp., and Cumulus. Inc, sends the message loud and clear that if you are 66 years old and have a disability, "we don’t want you anymore". The message we will send, right back to them, loud and clear, is that this type of despicable illegal behavior will not be tolerated in the City and County of San Francisco."

KNBR’s response:

The following is a statement from Bill Bungeroth, Vice President / Market Manager, Cumulus, San Francisco.

"It is disappointing that Ralph’s lawyers have issued a press release filled with inaccurate statements and baseless accusations.

The simple fact is that Ralph refused to honor some of the most basic terms of his contract. As a result, KNBR exercised its right to terminate the contract.

Ralph does not disclose that KNBR offered him a contract to continue his pay and benefits for the next six months. His response to that offer was to make disparaging statements about KNBR in the press.

It is completely implausible that the termination of Ralph’s contract had anything to do with his age or the fact he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. KNBR renewed his contract this past fall with full knowledge of those circumstances. At that time, Ralph publicly recognized that the Company "didn’t view the Parkinson’s as a red flag."
"That statement is true. It never has. "

Ralph’s response to KNBR’s response:
Ralph Barbieri called this reporter late Sunday and criticized KNBR’s offer to pay him for another six months. He said they did offer to pay him for another six months, but that the offer could be terminated after one month by management.

Seems like Barbieri was being fired, and has the grounds for both disability and age discrimination suits. KNBR disputes those claims, and says Barbieri was getting a very generous offer to continue on, but Barbieri seems to think that he was treated unfairly throughout the process.

Appears as if Barbieri is getting ready to fight KNBR, which will probably end up with a settlement suit or a dismissal of charges. It doesn't figure to be pretty. Who will come out on top?

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