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Fox News Pays Settlement in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Fox News Network, a unit of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, has settled a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on the behalf of four former employees. According to the lawsuit, Joe Chillemi, vice president in the advertising and promotions department, allegedly created a hostile work environment by routinely cursing and denigrating women in the workplace.

Kim Weiler, a former employee who left in March 2004, brought the initial charges to the EEOC. Along with three other employees, she claimed that Chillemi used degrading words to describe women, including pregnant women, assigned women to freelance positions with fewer benefits and less job security, and told women to “be a man,” according to Reuters. His sexual harassment had more blatant forms as well: once, he responded to a question on whether he would hire a man or a woman by saying, “[O]f course I would pick the man. A woman would most likely get pregnant and leave,” the complaint states, according to Reuters. When Weiler brought her complaints to the attention of the network, she was forced to leave.

The settlement is in the amount of $225,000 and will be distributed between the four complainants. According to a spokesperson, Fox still denies any wrongdoing, Bloomberg News reports.

Sources:

Reuters 7/31/06; Bloomberg News 8/1/06

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