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Media companies grapple with employment discrimination claims, P.2

Previously, we looked at the ongoing litigation against CNN regarding allegations of racial discrimination. As we noted last time, Fox News has been dealing with its own discrimination litigation filed by former employees, including Gretchen Carlson of Fox & Friends and former analyst and commentator Andrea Tantaros.

These cases were filed against Fox News over the actions of former CEO Roger Ailes, who resigned from the organization shortly after well known news anchor Megyn Kelly went public last year with allegations that Ailes had sexually harassed her while she worked with the media company. Kelly never sued over the harassment, however. 

The most recent development for the network is a discrimination lawsuit filed by Lidia Curanaj, who alleges that Ailes sexually harassed her in a private interview in 2011 and chose not to hire her because she was not deemed sufficiently submissive. She alleges both discrimination and that Ailes had created a hostile work environment, a term referring to the a work atmosphere pervaded by the threat of discrimination.  

Hostile work environment can be an important factor in demonstrating claims of sexual harassment, particularly when the discrimination occurs over a significant period of time and impacts the victim’s ability to effectively do his or her work. It is not uncommon, of course, for employers to attempt to cover up discriminatory termination or refusal to hire or promote with the excuse of poor performance and presentation. One way a workplace harassment victim can counter this is to demonstrate hostile work environment.

In our next post, we’ll say more about this topic. 

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