KBTX sent me the statement I asked for:
The KBTX family is disappointed to learn from other media outlets that our former colleague and friend Bob French has chosen to file a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stemming from his employment here. KBTX and Gray Television respect the privacy of the employment relationship, and accordingly, will not litigate matters related to Mr. French's employment in the press. KBTX, however, will defend itself vigorously against Mr. French's allegations and is confident that upon reviewing the record, the EEOC will conclude that Mr. French's allegations are utterly without merit.
I received a press release this morning from a representative of Houston Employment Lawyer Charles H. Peckham. It says that former KBTX Bryan/College station meteorologist Bob French has filed a complaint about his former employer claiming discrimination and retaliation.
Many KBTX viewers have been emailing me asking about French's whereabouts. I had contacted French when Shel Winkley was named as his replacement in August, but did not hear back from him.
Here is the release.
Robert “Bob” French, a Chief Meteorologist and Weathercaster employed by KBTX in Bryan and College Station for 23 years has filed a charge of Age and Disability Discrimination as well as Retaliation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).
The charge names KBTX and its parent company, Gray Television Group, Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia as the target of the allegations. KBTX and Gray Television are now the subject of a federal and state investigation by the EEOC.
Bob French, over the age of 40, claims he was overworked during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays of 2012 while other much younger employees were allowed time off. The strain of the long hours resulted in French’s in-patient treatment for exhaustion and stress-related matters in Houston in mid-January and caused his absence from the airwaves while recovering under Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave.
Upon French’s return to work and on air in April, 2013, KBTX General Manager Mike Wright allegedly reprimanded French for matters relating to his disability and FMLA leave. Shortly after, French was fired from KBTX in early July, 2013. He was replaced by a weathercaster under 40 years of age.
Bob French was employed by a written contract that French also claims was breached by KBTX and Gray Television. Suit is expected to be filed on the allegations as soon as the EEOC federal investigation is complete.
Bob French is represented by Houston Employment Lawyer Charles H. Peckham.
“For KBTX to have violated Bob’s legally-protected rights is offensive” Peckham explains. “If KBTX can fire a beloved man such as Bob French for being over the age of 40 or for simply exercising his right to disability leave, no employee is safe from similar illegal treatment. Bob is standing up to send a message to KBTX that folks over 40 are not second-class citizens.”
Charles Peckham of the Houston-based law firm of Peckham PLLC is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. No stranger to high profile cases, Peckham is currently working as the civil attorney for James Kirkland, professional boxer and WBC Light Middleweight Champion; medical board attorney for Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor accused of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson, and lawyer for nationally-syndicated radio host and comedian, George Willborn. Charles Peckham concentrates in many areas of litigation including employment, real estate and commercial law.