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CBS Slapped With Lawsuit by Former Employee Who Claims Workplace Had Segregated Lunchroom

Woman also alleges that she was terminated under false pretenses

CBS has been hit with a lawsuit by a woman who claims that she was subjected to racial discrimination, including a segregated lunchroom, according to court papers obtained by TheWrap Tuesday.

In the suit, filed in New York Supreme Court, Bennielee Berridge states that she began working as an analyst for CBS’ travel and entertainment department in 2008.

The lawsuit claims that Berridge consistently received positive performance reviews, but things took a turn after Diane Togneri came on as head of the department a few years later.

According to Berridge, Togneri “treated African American employees differently than non-African American employees and avoided social interactions with African American employees, including Plaintiff, making Plaintiff and other African American employees feel shunned and ostracized on account of their race.”

The lawsuit claims that Togneri “caused the segregation and banishment of the employees of [the Accounts Payable Department], a majority of whom were African American, from the department lunchroom … forcing those employee to eat in a separate lunchroom than non-African American employees were permitted to use.”

As a result, Berridge says, she felt “humiliated, embarrassed, degraded, racially ostracized and unwelcome in the department lunchroom.”

CBS had no comment for TheWrap on the lawsuit.

Berridge also claims that, in a 2014 performance review, Togneri gave her “the lowest possible raise she probably could” even though Berridge “performed equivalent to or better than the non-African American employees in the same or similar positions.” The lawsuit claims that Togneri said she gave the small raise because Berridge’s “interest” in the job was “not to her standards.”

The lawsuit also claims that Berridge was passed over for a Senior Analyst position that she was qualified for, while a less-qualified candidate was given the position.

In November 2014, Berridge claims, she was let go, even though she had received no work-related write-ups. The lawsuit says that her position was being eliminated, but that within months of her termination, another person was hired to perform “nearly identical” job duties to hers.

Berridge is seeking unspecified damages.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.