Appeal board settles ex-host’s discrimination case against Iowa PBS

State officials have agreed to a settlement with the former host of Iowa PBS’ “Market to Market” as part of a wage and sexual discrimination case.

Delaney Howell, who hosted the agriculture business show for two years, alleged in a lawsuit in August that she received a lower wage than her male predecessor. She also said the network’s managers restricted her outside work in a way that they hadn’t for the previous “Market to Market” host, Mike Pearson.

The State Appeal Board approved the settlement Monday, paying Howell $55,000 and allocating another $34,000 to the Sherinian & Hasso Law Firm that represented her. Howell and her attorney, Emily Wilson, declined to comment.

According to the lawsuit, Howell joined Iowa PBS as an intern in 2015, doing behind-the-scenes production work for programs including “Market to Market.” 

Network managers promoted her to host the show in February 2018, paying her about $20 an hour. They raised her salary to about $28 an hour eight months later. That was less than Iowa PBS paid Pearson, who earned $30 an hour when he started and was making $32 an hour when he departed the show.

While Howell argued that Pearson was just as green as she was when he started off as the host, Iowa PBS argued in court filings that Pearson had experience “through his father (Mark Pearson), who worked as the host of Market to Market for approximately 20 years.” Mike Pearson joined the show in July 2012, a month after his father’s death.

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