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Ex-Jewelry Television exec sues network, alleges scheme to cut health care costs

May 19th, 2009 12:00 am by Staff Report

The Knoxville News Sentinel is reporting that a former Jewelry Television executive is suing the Knoxville-based home shopping network for wrongful termination and age discrimination, alleging a "scheme" to get rid of employees with expensive health care costs.

Steve Gordon, a company vice president who oversaw procurement, logistics, travel and the retail store Gemstore, was terminated as part of a companywide reduction in work force last May, according to a suit filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.

The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, maintains that Jewelry Television sought to eliminate employees who threatened the company's objective of an independent public offering by increasing health insurance or workers' compensation premiums.

Gordon, who was hired by Jewelry Television in 2004, was diagnosed with cancer in 2005.

"It is our contention that he, amongst others, were selected to improve their loss exposure in health and workmans' compensation areas," attorney M.J. Hoover III said, noting that Jewelry Television's insurance plan is self-funded.

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