Houston viewers of NBC’s “Today” saw Ann Curry’s tearful last segment on the morning infotainment show yesterday. Various news media reports suggest that she was demoted from the show at Matt Lauer’s request. Curry took over as Lauer’s co-anchor about one year ago, and in recent months ABC’s “Good Morning America” surpassed “Today” in the ratings for the first time in 16 years.
However, Curry was only one year into a three-year $30 million contract with the network as the “Today” co-host. When an employee is demoted, especially an executive, a variety of contract issues, such as severance or separation agreements arise. In order to ensure that an employee protects his or her interests and career, it is very wise to have a discussion with an employment law attorney when facing a demotion.
It has been reported that Curry walked away from the “Today” show Thursday with $10 million as well as a job as one of the network’s foreign correspondents. She will also remain an “at-large” anchor for “Today,” according to the Washington Post.
Curry, still, appeared reluctant and upset to be leaving her spot as co-host.
When an employee or executive is demoted, in addition to contract considerations, he or she will also have to think about whether it is best to stay with the company or leave.
If it is in his or her best interest to leave, any non-compete or non-solicitation agreements must be reviewed. And in addition to inking a suitable severance deal, it is sometimes necessary to place protections on what the company can say about the person after his or her departure.
These are just a few of the legal issues involved in an employee or executive demotion. Although Curry’s demotion is playing out in the national media, the embarrassment and disappointment surrounding a demotion can be intense for those in lower-profile industries as well. But a demotion does not have to be career-ending, and an employment law attorney can help ensure that everything is resolved in the best possible manner.
Source: The Washington Post, “Ann Curry: Today is my last day co-hosting ‘Today,'” Lisa de Morales, June 28, 2012