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RI Public Radio Reporter Says Station Blocking Her Unemployment

Sunday, April 13, 2014


RI Public Radio veteran reporter Flo Jonic says the RI-based station is blocking her ability to collect unemployment benefits after she was fired.

Jonic says she was fired after she raised issues and ultimately filed a complaint for alleged gender-based discrimination by the station.

Specifically, Jonic claims that a male reporter made nearly 30% more than female counterparts with more broadcast experience. Now, Jonic is asking RI listeners to shift to listen WGBH. The Boston station already has twice as many RI listeners than RI Public Radio commands.

Dispute over unemployment claim

"I was surprised to learn on Friday, April 11th, that Rhode Island Public Radio is contesting my right to receive unemployment insurance benefits.  RIPR (General Manager) Joseph O'Connor has gone out of his way to avoid saying I've been fired because he knows that to do so would be in direct conflict with federal law, which prohibits retaliation against any person alleging discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission," Jonic told GoLocal on Saturday.

In an email on Saturday night from Joseph O'Connor to GoLocalProv, O'Connor refuted Jonic's claim that the station was disputing her unemployment benefits. "Not true," said O'Connor. 

Pay discrimination

Jonic claims that the station's policies are discriminatory, "He has issued a statement calling my accusations of pay discrimination "false."  He knows they're not false. If they were false, Mr. O'Connor and the Rhode Island Public Radio Board of Directors would never have offered to mediate their way out of this predicament."

According to Jonic, the station tried to resolve the issues through a mediation process, "My relations with station management became noticeably frostier after they received notice that I was not interested in mediation.  I declined this opportunity because the average EEOC mediation payout last year was about $20,000 -- which is far less than I am owed by Rhode Island Public Radio for earning at least 33% less than political reporter Ian Donnis for more than five years."

Jonic may not be the only woman

Jonic who has filed a complaint in both RI and Massachusetts say she is not the only woman being under compensated. 

"Mr. O'Connor has also pointed out that the station is "quite proud of its record of hiring and promoting women, including its Morning Edition Host, its News Director and its Chief Operating Officer."  I cannot speak to the salary of Chief Operating Officer Susan Greenhalgh, but I know with certainty that Morning Edition host Elisabeth Harrison and news director Catherine Welch earn less than Donnis," said Jonic.

Calling for a Boycott

Jonic told GoLocal that there is a need for the public to understand the importance with this case of discrimination. "I am doing what I never thought I would do: asking Rhode Islanders to boycott Rhode Island Public Radio.  When they ask for money, just switch the dial to 89.7 FM.  That's WGBH in Boston. It has twice as many listeners in Rhode Island as RIPR because it has one very strong signal while RIPR operates on three FM signals and does not cover the entire state.  I believe in the mission of public radio, but I believe this station is not acting in the public interest," said Jonic.

O'Connor refused any other new comment.



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Veteran radio reporter Flo Jonic recently was fired by RINPR after she filed complaints against the station  for gender-based pay discrimination.

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In her charge filed in February, Jonic wrote, "I believe that I have been discriminated against based on my sex by my employer," and referred to the difference in her pay and that of RIPR reporter Ian Donnis.

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Jennifer Jordan

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Ron St. Pierre

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(Photo: Alan Levine, Flickr)

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Welcome to reality and revelation: some of the most callously dismissive companies are those run by leftists. They'll gass off all day about 'we care' and talk a great game about 'being good corporate stewards, leaving the world a better place for our children' all the while sticking a shiv in the throat of any employee or customer who dares to ask that they honor their contracts.

Comment #1 by paul zecchino on 2014 04 13

"" WGBH in Boston. It has twice as many listeners in Rhode Island as RIPR""
If the folks at RIPR had "The radio ratings manipulator" John DePetro on their team, their listener count would be three times that of WGBH or even MORE LOL

Comment #2 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 04 13


Comment #3 by LENNY BRUCE on 2014 04 13

Did you bother to read the article before commenting LOL
...."Calling for a boycott"
Members of three women's groups, lefty orgs, and the college Democrats are planning a picket line-demonstration and they have a FaceBook page, where folks can sign-up and send emails to the top dogs at RIPR

Comment #4 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 04 13

Flo is wrong here. But what is right is all the leverage that she has with the "facts" she is creating. She will get a good lawyer and continue with her extortion until she gets the payoff. Right now "equal pay" is the political rage. She has hitched up her litigation to a hot political trend and is doing her reportorial best to build a case in the press. No need for her to be right on this one; she just needs to keep the pressure on and her extortion will payoff nicely.

Comment #5 by Small Businessman on 2014 04 13

A scandal in public radio, I thought they were all nice people? Apparently not. Anyone fired has go through the adjudication unit, so maybe that's what she's yapping about. Why does golocal pander to these people, like that stupid person fired at channel 10; friends, college buddies, wtf is the agenda here? I'm all for equal pay, but some women are just incompetent just like some men.

Comment #6 by bill bentley on 2014 04 17

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.