Laura Hagan, a former Univision National Radio Sales president, has filed a federal employment discrimination suit in New York, claiming then CEO of Katz Media Group Stu Olds (who died in 2010), made fun of her accent, complained about her age, paid her less than other senior-level executives and fired her in late 2008 without cause.
According to a story in the Huffington Post, the 66 year-old Hagan, a native of Ecuador, claims that when she was fired in 2008, she was the only Hispanic executive in Univision Radio’s national sales team.
Univision National Radio Sales, a division of the Katz Media Group owned by Clear Channel, has a contractual agreement with Univision Communications to sell advertising for its 70 radio stations in the U.S.
Hagan worked for Univision from 1987 to 1991. She rejoined the company in 1994 until she was fired in October 2008. During this time, she was the company’s VP of sales and EVP of sales before being promoted to President. Radio Ink named her one of the “25 Most Influential Women in Radio” from 2002 to 2008.
The suit alleges that in 2004, Olds altered a photo that was either of Carmen Miranda or the Chiquita Banana lady to include Hagan’s face and displayed the image at a 2004 meeting in Miami attended by 250 Univision managers. The suit also claims Olds made “numerous” public comments about Hagan’s age, race and national origin, describing her as “too old” to work for him and that her accent was a liability and an impediment to business.
In an interview published in 2004, Hagan about her career and the growth of the Hispanic media market. She speaks well of Olds, but admits she faced some challenges:
“There are ups and downs all the time. I’ve talked about the rosy aspects of my career, but it’s been hard to break through sometimes. Being a Spanish woman has both helped me and not helped me. This company has been built with a lot of sacrifice and hard work, a lot of tenacity, and a drive not to be discouraged and to keep on striving in spite of hardships. I only focus on the good things. Otherwise, I don’t think I would have made it through all those years.”