Former Fox 17 Anchor Deanna Falzone Claims Vaccine Discrimination Led To Dismissal
A lawsuit filed in federal court claims that a former local TV anchor was discriminated against because of her religious views.
According to the legal filing, longtime morning anchor, Deanna Falzone says that she was not allowed to claim a religious exemption to a Covid-19 vaccine policy which ultimately led to her dismissal.
What Happened to Deanna Falzone at Fox 17?
Falzone announced her exit remotely and via YouTube on December 2nd, 2021.
The lawsuit states that Falzone was not allowed a religious exemption to the Scripps Media, parent company of Fox 17, vaccine policy that required staffers to be vaccinated by December of 2021.
Some Catholics have tried to get the exemption despite church leaders' directives that the vaccine is 'morally permissible' for church members.
Falzone's exit followed a spate of exits from the station in the latter half of 2021, including Falzone's former on-air partner Mike Avery, anchor Ryan Cummings & sports reporter Zach Harig.
According to the Grand Rapids Press Falzone is joined in the lawsuit by two other employees, both former salespeople for the station. David Price who also was denied a religious exemption, and Claudette Lozano, who says she was fired for defending her coworkers.
The lawsuit states that Falzone and her co-workers were given an unreasonable barrier to 'prove' their religious exemptions:
Employees who submitted religious accommodation requests were made to overcome a presumption against the sincerity of their beliefs when sincerity should have been presumed. -Attorney Noah Hurwitz
In a statement to MLive, Michael Perry, a member of the Scripps Communication teams said that all requests were vetted by the company:
Employees had the option to go through an accommodation process. A review team carefully and thoughtfully went through all applications for exemptions, some of which were accepted and some of which were denied.
At this time Falzone has not made a public statement on the lawsuit.