July 11, 2016

Employment News Hostile Work Environment Sexual harassment

Sexual Harassment Suit Filed Against Fox News CEO

Former “Fox & Friends” co-host, Gretchen Carlson, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News CEO Roger Ailes alleging Ailes fired her in retaliation for rejecting his sexual advances and reporting sexual harassment by her former co-host, Steve Doocy.

Carlson Claims Sexual Harassment and Retaliation
Carlson joined Fox News in 2005. According to her Complaint, beginning in 2009, while a co-host on “Fox & Friends,” Carlson complained that Doocy created a hostile work environment by treating her in a sexist and condescending way. Ailes responded by calling Carlson a “man hater” who needed to learn to “get along with the boys.” Thereafter, Carlson received fewer interviews, was removed from certain Fox News programming and was given fewer broadcast appearances.

In 2013, Ailes removed Carlson from “Fox & Friends” altogether, reassigned her less desirable programming and cut her compensation. Ailes continued to make sexual and sexist comments, including: telling Carlson to turn around so he could view her posterior; urging her to wear outfits that enhanced her figure; stating “I’m sure you can do sweet nothings when you want to;” and telling Carlson she was “sexy” but “too much work.”

During a meeting in September 2016, Ailes told Carlson, “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better,” and added “sometimes problems are easier to solve” that way. Following her refusal to engage in a sexual relationship, Ailes cut her compensation and support within Fox News and refused to renew her contract in June 2016. Thereafter, Carlson filed suit claiming sexual harassment and retaliation.

While Carlson asserts Ailes actions were outside the scope of his authority as CEO, Ailes has responded that the claims should be sent to arbitration as required under her contract with Fox News. The court has not yet decided on this issue.

Have you experienced sexual harassment or retaliation?
Any victim of retaliation in relation to a sexual harassment complaint deserves protection. If you are a victim of sexual harassment or suffered retaliation, including job termination, demotion, or hostility in the workplace, you may be entitled to compensation. At Wanta Thome PLC in Minneapolis, our experienced lawyers can help you protect yourself in any dispute related to sexual harassment and retaliation. Contact us for more information or to learn about your rights under Minnesota state and federal employment laws.