NPR, former employee settle discrimination suit

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A federal judge has granted a request by NPR and former technician Zandile Mkwanazi to dismiss Mkwanazi’s employment discrimination lawsuit against the public broadcaster.

Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the case April 25. The two sides had requested the dismissal April 22 in a joint filing and agreed that the claims in the case could not be refiled in the future. Each party also agreed to cover their own legal fees, according to the filing. 

Mkwanazi’s attorney, David Scher, and NPR spokesperson Isabel Lara both told Current in separate emails that “the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.” 

Mkwanazi, who is African American, claimed in a 2020 lawsuit that NPR discriminated against him and subjected him to a hostile work environment based on race. He also claimed that NPR retaliated against him for reporting harassment.

In one of the incidents alleged by Mkwanazi, his white supervisor in the Network Operations Center, Brett Gerringer, referred to him as “boy” on Mkwanazi’s first day. He continued to use the term after Mkwanazi explained to Gerringer that the term is offensive. 

In the lawsuit, Mkwanazi sought back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive relief, reasonable attorney’s fees and costs and pre- and post-judgment interest.

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