Comcast’s LGBTQ Liaison Files Discrimination Lawsuit

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LOS ANGELES, CA, UNITED STATES – 2019/02/12: A view of the Comcast NBCUniversal building in … [+]

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A gay Comcast executive who serves as the cable giant’s liaison with LGBTQ groups has filed a federal lawsuit alleging the cable/entertainment giant discriminated against him because of his sexual orientation.

In a 45-page court filing made earlier this month, Klayton Fennell alleges he was passed over for promotions called derogatory names and denied equal pay because “he is routinely perceived as not conforming to traditional sex and/or gender-based stereotypes.” It adds that Fennell is paid “substantiall y less” than his heterosexual male counterparts.

“When (Fennell) complained of the discriminatory conduct to which he was subjected, (Comcast) failed to conduct an investigation into his claims, isolated him within the organization failed to remedy his pay disparity and allowed the hostile work environment to persist,’ the lawsuit says. “After (Fennell) filed a complaint of discrimination with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, (Comcast) further retaliated against (Fennell).”

Fennell claims a human resources manager told him that career growth was hurt because Comcast’s senior executives, including Senior Executive Vice President David Cohen, considered him to be “high pitched.” Cohen also is the Chief Diversity Officer of Philadelphia-based Comcast.

Fennell remains employed as a Senior Vice President. His attorney Katherine Oeltjen didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Philadelphia Inquirer also noted that The Philadelphia Business Journal recognized Fennell as a “Top LGBT Leader in Business” in 2015. Earlier this year he represented Comcast at an event in Nashville when Mayor David Briley signed an executive order recognizing LGBTQ businesses as a separate category in awarding government contracts.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the country’s largest and oldest LGBTQ Civil Rights organization, has named Comcast one of its “Best Places To Work” for six straight years. Fennell told the Philadelphia Gay News t hat he was “proud” of the company’s accomplishment. The HRC couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

A company spokesman disputed Fennell’s suit and vowed to “vigorously defend” itself in court.

“At no time during Klay Fennell’s long career at Comcast has he been discriminated against or been the subject of wrongful treatment,” according to a statement. “Klay has worked at Comcast for more than 18 years, and we promoted him to the job of Senior Vice President more than four years ago, one of our highest roles in our Cable division. We also have supported him for many years and provided a platform for him to have a positive influence on LGBTQ initiatives both inside the company and in the communities we serve.”