Barbara Riegle Sues KFWB on Alleged Age Discrimination

Veteran Orange County newswoman Barbara Riegle filed a $16.5-million federal lawsuit against radio station KFWB, alleging the station's management discriminated against her because she is an older woman.

"I can't (comment)," said Riegle in a brief telephone interview Wednesday. "I'm in the office, and I'm working." Riegle, who joined KFWB in 1971, served as Orange County news bureau chief from 1978 to 1985. In 1985, she was "stripped" of her company car and transferred to Los Angeles to work as a reporter, according to the lawsuit. These actions have caused her "severe emotional distress," the suit said. Riegle also alleges that she was unfairly passed over for the job of news director.

KFWB General Manager Steve Fisher did not return phone calls from The Times.

Riegle's troubles began in 1982 when she challenged the station's policy of not allowing women to cover sports events, according to Seth J. Kelsey, Riegle's Santa Ana attorney. He said there has been a "pattern of harassment" that "went deeper to not wanting older women on the staff."

Kelsey said Riegle, who is in her "early 60s," lives in Anaheim and commutes to work in Los Angeles.

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