Fox News Channel host Gretchen Carlson recently filed a sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit against the network’s chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes, after she refused his alleged sexual advances towards her. On July 6, Ms. Carlson filed a complaint against Mr. Ailes with the Superior Court of New Jersey in Bergen County, stating that, after she refused Mr. Ailes’ sexual advances towards her and complained about his behavior, he unlawfully retaliated against her. Ms. Carlson was terminated from her position as the host of the network’s afternoon program The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson on June 23. Prior to this role, Ms. Carlson was the co-host of Fox and Friends until 2013.
According to Ms. Carlson, Mr. Ailes had consistently made sexual and/or sexist remarks towards her, and made “sexual advances by various means,” including an instance that occurred last September in which he allegedly stated that he and Ms. Carlson “should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago” and implied that her problems would be “easier to solve” if she did. After she refused his sexual advances, Ms. Carlson stated that Mr. Ailes retaliated against her by denying her career opportunities, cutting her wages, ostracizing and shunning her publicly and privately, and “decreed that her contract not be renewed.”
Under federal law, harassment is defined as the unwanted conduct based on gender (including pregnancy), ethnicity, race, age, disability or genetic information. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), one-third of the 90,000 charges the EEOC receives each year includes an allegation of workplace harassment. An employer may be held liable for harassment by a workplace supervisor that results in an employee’s termination, inability to hire or promote and/or the loss of wages and, therefore, may result in a hostile work environment.
If you have concerns regarding employment law issues, contact an experienced New York employment law attorney who can ensure that your rights are protected. Call Steven Mitchell Sack at (917) 371-8000 or email him at sms@StevenSack.com.