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Originally published November 3, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified November 3, 2007 at 2:03 AM

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TV reporter sues over her firing

Tv reporter April Zepeda, fired from KOMO-TV in May after 11 years, has filed a discrimination suit against her former employer, Fisher...

Seattle Times staff reporter

TV reporter April Zepeda, fired from KOMO-TV in May after 11 years, has filed a discrimination suit against her former employer, Fisher Communications.

The suit alleges she was discriminated against because of her age and ethnicity. Zepeda, most recently head of KOMO-TV's North Sound bureau, is 40 and Hispanic.

The civil suit also claims the station retaliated against Zepeda for volunteering to be a union shop steward and that the station violated an employment contract she signed in February 2006.

Zepeda was one of three veteran reporters fired by the station May 7. In an interview with The Seattle Times after her firing, Zepeda said she had incorporated some directives given to her recently by station managers and she believed her relationship with the station was a solid one.

Those directives, according to the complaint filed Monday in King County Superior Court, included news director Holly Gaunt suggesting Zepeda wear more makeup and clothing that would emphasize her small stature. Gaunt also suggested she be more "physically active on camera," which Zepeda says she did.

"She followed every directive that KOMO's new management had given her, and yet they fired her," said Lori Haskell, attorney for Zepeda, whose coverage of last year's winter storm has been nominated for a regional Emmy.

Zepeda now works for The Everett Clinic as a media and communications manager.

KOMO-TV vice president and general manager Jim Clayton said the station cannot comment on personnel matters.

Florangela Davila: 206-464-2916 or fdavila@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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