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Mercury News, former columnist settle dispute, harassment claim

Start-up investment led to discipline in '99

Logo - Mercury NewsMay 14, 2001 | San Jose Mercury News

By the Mercury News

The San Jose Mercury News and former business columnist Chris Nolan have settled an 18-month-old dispute over various grievances and sexual harassment charges she filed against the newspaper.

Terms of the settlement, reached Friday, were not disclosed by Nolan or the newspaper.

A joint statement said: “A satisfactory settlement has been reached. The Mercury News strives to adhere to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct and recognizes that Ms. Nolan does as well. Ms. Nolan is grateful for the opportunity to have worked for the Mercury News and has nothing but good wishes for the future prosperity of the paper.”

The dispute stemmed from Nolan losing her business column, “Talk is Cheap,” in July 1999, and being disciplined by the paper after editors learned she had profited from an investment opportunity extended to her by a start-up company owner she described as a friend.

Nolan left the Mercury News in November 1999. She filed a grievance with the San Jose Newspaper Guild, the labor union that represents the newspaper’s reporters. The grievances were scheduled to go to arbitration with a third-party mediator on May 21 until Friday’s announced settlement.

Sexual harassment charges against the paper that were filed by Nolan with the state Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also were resolved as part of the agreement. Nolan had charged that comparable male columnists were paid more than she was and were given more job opportunities in conjunction with their columns, such as television and speaking engagements, said her lawyer, Terry Gross.

Nolan now writes about Silicon Valley business affairs in a syndicated column for the New York Post. She is based in San Francisco.