Reporter says US Fox News channel fired her for using harassment hotline

Katie RamirezMay 06, 2017

A former Fox News radio correspondent is suing the network and its parent company over claims she was sacked just 24 hours after contacting a "hotline" set up to encourage employee complaints.

The lawsuit is one in a series brought by Wigdor against the network in the wake of former host Bill O'Reilly's departure from Fox following new allegations of past sexual harassment.

The suit mentions that Golloher was sacked within 24 hours of the phone call she had made reporting "sexist" harassment. "The decision to terminate Ms. Golloher can only be described as a blatant act of retaliation". Indeed, Golloher's lawsuit says that Fox employees were sent a notice from Executive Vice President of Human Resources Kevin Lord, encouraging people to report concerns to Fox officials, or to Michele Hirshman of the law firm Paul Weiss, who has been working with 21st Century Fox, and led an internal investigation sparked by allegations against Roger Ailes.

In the lawsuit, Golloher wrote some examples of the kind of discrimination she faces.

"We will vigorously defend the matter", the Fox representative maintained.

"Hours before we amended [a racial discrimination class action suit against Fox] to add nine new Plaintiffs and Class Action allegations, we received a letter from Fox's Counsel, Epstein, Becker & Green, PC ('EBG"), threatening our clients and our Firm should certain clients go public with their claims, ' said Wigdor. Both men are named in the suit.

Jessica Golloher's lawyer made it pretty clear yesterday in a letter to United Kingdom regulators that legal action was coming against Fox News Channel over the treatment of the Fox News Radio reporter, and today the discrimination and retaliation complaint hit the courts. She claims that even though her termination for "budgetary reasons" isn't effective until August, her assignments are being given to freelancers.

Jessica Golloher, a reporter based in Israel, claims that "within 24 hours" of sending an email to the firm's independent investigator, she was "without any prior warning, fired".

Golloher also says just this year she pitched a story based in Afghanistan but was told she couldn't cover because it was "exceedingly unsafe".

Fox News is facing a number of sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits, including a proposed class action by non-white employees who say they were mocked and humiliated due to their race and paid less than white coworkers.

A Fox News spokesperson said in an email: "Jessica Golloher's claims are without merit".

Following the explosive New York Times story about female employees being paid millions to keep mum on harassment claims involving Bill O'Reilly, the company sent a memo to employees to encourage them to report incidents via an anonymous hotline.

"Instead, shockingly, Ms. Golloher was degraded and humiliated when essentially, Fox forced her to work as Mr. Owen's assistant and was told to simply "piggyback" onto and "defer" to whatever Mr. Owen was doing or needed", the lawsuit reads.

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