New Jersey residents who watch the Fox News Channel may be aware that Gretchen Carlson recently left the network. The 50-year-old former Miss America and co-host of the popular show 'Fox & Friends" claims in a lawsuit filed on July 6 that she was fired for refusing the sexual advances of the network's Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. The lawsuit, which was filed in Bergen County, does not name Fox News or its parent company 21st Century Fox as defendants.
Carlson claims in her sexual harassment lawsuit that Ailes moved her from the highly rated morning show to a less desirable afternoon time slot in 2013 after she refused to enter into a sexual relationship with him. The former anchor alleges that Ailes made inappropriate advances toward her for several years before terminating her employment. Fox news did not immediately respond to the allegations.
The lawsuit paints Ailes as a misogynist who routinely took the side of male Fox News employees when they disagreed with their female colleagues. Carlson is seeking damages for lost wages, mental anguish and the damage that she feels Ailes has done to her future career prospects. Carlson says that Ailes admitted to ostracizing and marginalizing her during her time at Fox News, and she claims that the CEO told her that all of these problems would have gone away if she had been more receptive to his sexual overtures.
Sexual harassment lawsuits filed by terminated employees are sometimes dismissed as cynical attempts to cash in, but many workers who suffer regular mistreatment are reluctant to speak up because they fear losing their jobs. Attorneys with employment law experience may understand this hesitancy, and they could help harassed workers to overcome their fears by explaining the protections they enjoy under federal laws like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.