Alma Media CEO facing discrimination charges again

Kai Telanne is accused by prosecutors of using women's personal or family circumstances as reasons not to consider them for jobs at the company.

File picture showing exterior of Alma Media office in Helsinki / Credit: News Now Finland

The CEO of one of Finland’s biggest media companies is facing charges of sex discrimination.

The prosecutor in Tampere is bringing the charges against Alma Media’s CEO Kai Telanne, as well as the company’s HR Director Virpi Juvosta for allegedly discounting a woman who applied for a top job.

Päivi Anttikoski, now the Director General of Government Communications, applied for the role of Editor-in-Chief at Alma Media’s Tampere-based newspaper Aamulehti.

Anttikoski had planned to live in Tampere during the week and commute back to her family on the weekend if she got the job, but claims she was told by Telanne that her 10-year old son needed to be with his mother, and the interview process went no further.

The prosecutor now says there are sufficient grounds to pursue the case for sexual discrimination.

Alma Media denies the accusations and says “family relationships have in no way influenced [the decision to hire] Aamulehti’s Editor-in-Chief. Equality is an important issue for Alma Media and any form of discrimination is not part of the company’s business practices” it says in a statement.

Kai Telanne has been CEO of Alma Media since 2005 and was previously convicted of a similar offense by the Supreme Court.

In summer 2015 he had a conviction upheld against him for firing journalist Johanna Korhonen before she could even start work as Editor-in-Chief at the Lapin Kansa newspaper in Rovaniemi.

Korhonen said she was let go because she misrepresented herself during the interview process, but the court found he discriminated against her on grounds of sexual orientation and for asking about her spouse’s political activities.

At that time he was fined thousands of euros by the court.