Fox News hit with another gender discrimination lawsuit

A Fox News radio correspondent has sued the network, saying she was fired last month in retaliation for contacting the law firm investigating sexual harassment and gender discrimination complaints at the company.

The suit filed in New York State Supreme Court is the latest in a litany of complaints that have plagued Fox News in the last nine months, resulting in the ouster of its top anchor, Bill O’Reilly, and its two highest-ranking executives, Roger Ailes and Bill Shine.

Jessica Golloher, a correspondent who covers the Middle East and North Africa, has worked for Fox News since 2008 and has been under contract as a full-time employee since 2014. She alleges that she was told her employment contract, which is up in August, was not being renewed after she contacted the law firm Paul Weiss regarding discriminatory treatment at the company.

“[The] Defendants’ decision to terminate Ms. Golloher is a transparent act of retaliation and a clear attempt to silence yet another victim of discrimination at Fox,” the suit alleges.

A Fox News representative said in a statement that Golloher’s claims are without merit. “Her allegations of discrimination and retaliation are baseless,” the representative said. “We will vigorously defend the matter.”

Throughout her tenure at Fox News, Golloher alleges, she was “marginalized and subjected to discrimination based on her gender” by her supervisors, Mitch Davis and Hank Weinbloom. Both men are named in the suit.

Golloher’s complaint said she was asked to serve as “an assistant” to a male correspondent with less experience during the network’s coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in 2014. She said she was given less desirable shifts and humiliating story assignments during the event and had been “the subject of countless sexist comments and has borne witness to boorish comments regarding other female employees.”

Golloher did not consider complaining to human resources because she had heard the department “was not to be trusted as it had failed to assist employees with valid concerns,” according to the lawsuit. She only decided to come forward after a company-wide April 4 email was sent by recently hired Fox News human resources head Kevin Lord encouraging employees to speak up about any issues they had with workplace behavior, according to the suit.

Golloher said she sent an email to an attorney at Paul Weiss on April 17 to set up an appointment to discuss her complaints. Within 24 hours she was contacted by Davis and told that she was being terminated at the end of her deal due to “budgetary concerns,” according to the suit.

A person briefed on the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly said that Golloher’s position was eliminated because of broader cuts at Fox News Radio and that Davis was not aware that Golloher contacted Paul Weiss.

Golloher is represented by Wigdor Law, the same law firm representing Fox News employees in a racial discrimination case against the company’s former controller, Judy Slater.

stephen.battaglio@latimes.com

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio

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UPDATES:

7:20 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details.

This article was originally published at 4:05 p.m.

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