Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

$15.5 MDV in the Big Apple


Hip hop, welcome to the painful world of employment law. That's no doubt how the founders of Source magazine, the self-described magazine of "hip hop music, culture and politics," must be feeling after finding themselves on the wrong end of a Manhattan jury verdict after being sued by their former editor-in-chief. Kim Osorio, the first woman to hold that position, alleged she was terminated in retaliation for filing a complaint of gender discrimination and then refusing to withdraw it.

The Daily News story during the trial summed it up this way:

They call it the Bible of hip hop, but The Source was a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah behind the scenes, with executives watching porn movies and workspaces festooned with raunchy photos of topless women, a lawsuit claims.

The defense take was of course different -- using a variation of the "she knew what she was getting into" defense, it argued Osorio knew better than most that the hip-hop world was rife with raunchy language, profane lyrics and scantily clad women. According to its attorney:"
"That is the world that the plaintiff chose. She had many choices and she chose to work in hip hop. ... The Source is not Martha Stewart Living."

Nine days of testimony and four hours of deliberation later, the headline tells the story which view the jury bought -- Kim Osorio Wins $15.5 Million Judgement Against The Source.

Osorio summed it up:"Whether it's hip-hop, rock-n-roll, or the post office, there's still laws a company needs to abide by.'"

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