Monday, 4 October 2010

Fox News Named in Gender, Age Discrimination Lawsuit

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against News Corp.'s Fox News alleging that the broadcaster discriminated against a reporter on the basis of gender and age.

The lawsuit has been filed against Fox News Network LLC, which owns the Fox News Channel in Washington DC. The lawsuit alleges that Fox News retaliated against reporter Catherine Herridge, after she complained of discrimination in pay and employment opportunities on the basis of her age and gender. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the lawsuit seeks monetary compensation for Herridge. It also seeks compensatory and punitive damages. The lawsuit is also seeking an injunction against Fox News from discriminating against employees who oppose the company’s employment practices.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Herridge has claimed that she was demoted, denied equal pay, and repeatedly denied assignments and promotions based on her gender and age. In 2007, Herridge complained several times to Fox News management about the alleged discriminatory employment practices. Fox says it conducted an investigation into the complaints and found no basis for them. In 2008, when Herridge's contract came up for renewal, Fox included language in it that referred to the complaints that Herridge had made.

The language was apparently intended to discourage the reporter from making any further complaints. When Herridge refused to sign the contract with such language included, Fox simply stopped communicating with her or her agent about a contract. Because the company refused to proceed with a new employment contract, Herridge was placed in the position of being an “at will ”employee which she claims caused her considerable distress.

Fox insists that Herridge continues to remain an employee of the company since before and even after the complaints were filed. As any Los Angeles employment lawyer will tell you, retaliation does not simply have to mean terminating an employee from his or her position.

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