Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Fox News Gets Sued for Sexual Harassment

From Newsday:
NEW YORK (AP) The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a sexual harassment lawsuit on Monday against News Corp.'s Fox News Network on behalf of a female former employee.

The lawsuit charges that the company discriminated against Kim Weiler and retaliated when she and others complained. The discrimination resulted in the "constructive discharge" of Weiler and others, court papers say.

The complaint, filed in the Southern District of New York, names Fox News Vice President Joe Chillemi, who is accused of denigrating women by using obscenities when describing them or their body parts. The suit charges that Chillemi specifically denigrated pregnant women.

"At a department discussion about a segment on sexism in the workplace, Chillemi said that in choosing who to hire `if it came down between a man or a woman, of course I'd pick the man. The woman would most likely get pregnant and leave,"' the court papers say.

A Fox News lawyer said the claims in the lawsuit were unfounded.

"Fox News fully investigated the charges and allegations and found them to be baseless," lawyer Steven Mintz said. "We question the motivation behind the litigation."

The complaint contends that Fox News Network LLC discriminated against Weiler and others by assigning them primarily to freelance positions, which paid fewer benefits and had less job security and less potential for advancement.

The lawsuit asks the federal court to order Fox News to institute new policies providing equal employment and to compensate Weiler by an amount to be determined by the court.

The EEOC is a federal agency responsible for enforcing laws involving civil rights and anti-discrimination.

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