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Race Discrimination At Fox News

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

In addition to the multiple claims of sexual harassment Fox News has been dealing with, a high profile African-American reporter and the only African-American anchor at Fox News, Kelly Wright, last week joined a lawsuit brought by more than 10 employees complaining of systemic race discrimination at Fox News. Wright, an Emmy-winning anchor and an employee of Fox News for 14 years, said at a news conference “The (network) failed to be fair and balanced for all of our employees regardless of race, gender, faith, creed or color.”

It should not be surprising to see the reports of discrimination/harassment mounting. The women who made internal complaints about Bill O’Reilly say they were told by Fox News there was nothing that could be done because it’s Bill O’Reilly so they just had to put up with it. So, a number of employees with legitimate complaints chose to suffer in silence rather than push the issue. Now that employees are seeing some results, they are speaking up.

Of course, “there’s nothing we can do” is simply not the right response to a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment. If you have a legitimate concern that you are being discriminated against or harassed at work, you should investigate your rights. Many companies have policies in place that address discrimination, harassment, retaliation, procedures for making complaints and what is supposed to happen when a complaint is made. You can also consult an employment attorney.

Fox News hit with racial discrimination and harassment lawsuit from

Fox News Anchor Kelly Wright: ‘Indefensible and Inexcusable’ – Variety

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The Sexual Harassment Factor

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

No doubt almost everyone is aware that Bill O’Reilly and Fox News parted ways last week following new allegations of sexual harassment. This happened less than a year after Fox News had to get rid of Roger Ailes for the same reason. The New York Times published an article on April 1 detailing a series of sexual harassment allegations against O’Reilly and how Fox News and its parent company repeatedly stood by O’Reilly and paid out tens of millions to settle with the women who complained. In fact, Fox News settled two of the sexual harassment cases against O’Reilly after Ailes left. It also extended O’Reilly’s contract. Women at Fox News questioned whether the company was serious about creating a different culture as it had promised last year following the Ailes scandal. Those questions still remain.

What drove O’Reilly out was most likely dollars rather than a desire to do the right thing. A month ago, there were at least 30 nationally broadcast commercials each night on “The O’Reilly Factor.” In the weeks following the article, most major brands withdrew all advertising dollars from the program.

For his part, O’Reilly (and Ailes for that matter) has denied all of the allegations. But consider this. The women who made the allegations against O’Reilly worked for him and/or appeared on his show. If there was a place to advance your career, his show was it. Yet many still complained, even though they feared it could ruin their careers.

The Ailes and O’Reilly fiascos should result in corporations taking the issue of sexual harassment more seriously. As an employment attorney I’ve consulted with many women who told me of sexual harassment but were concerned that if they complained they would suffer retaliation. Hopefully after these two high profile men were forced out, more women with legitimate complaints will be willing to come forward and more employers will address the concerns appropriately.

Bill O’Reilly Thrives at Fox News, Even as Harassment Settlements …

Why Was Bill O’Reilly Really Fired? – The Atlantic

Bill O’Reilly Is Forced Out at Fox News – The New York Times

 

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Ohio’s Minimum Wage Going Up

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

On January 1, 2017 the minimum wage in Ohio will increase from $8.10 an hour to $8.15 an hour. Ohio employers with gross receipts of more than $299,000 must pay Ohio minimum wage.  Ohio employers with gross receipts of less than that must pay federal minimum wage which is currently $7.25 an hour. Back in 2006 voters in Ohio passed an amendment to Ohio’s Constitution tying the minimum wage in Ohio to the rate of inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index. With the election coming up and because federal law trumps state law (pun intended), it’s worth a look at the positions of the presidential candidates on the federal minimum wage. Clinton is in favor of raising the federal minimum wage to $12.00 an hour. An Ohioan working 40 hours a week would see an increase in yearly earnings from $15,080 (which is below the poverty threshold for a family of at least 2) to $24,960. Trump has recently voiced support for raising the federal minium wage to $10.00 an hour which would result in yearly earnings of $20,800.

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Chicago’s Physical Ability Test For Paramedics Discriminatory

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Last week the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit overturned a lower court decision and ruled that a physical ability test used by the city of Chicago in hiring paramedics was discriminatory because it had a disparate impact on female applicants. Over the course of 10 years 800 men and 300 women took the test. 98% of men passed while only 60% of women passed. The significantly lower passage rate for female applicants would not be problematic if the test actually measured ability to do the job. The Seventh Circuit found that it did not.
Rather, the test was significantly more difficult than the physical demands of the paramedic job. The Court found that the “lack of connection between real job skills and tested job skills is, in the end, fatal to Chicago’s case. Thus, the plaintiffs should have prevailed on their Title VII disparate impact claims.” While there is nothing wrong with using tests in the hiring process, employers should take care to use tests that actually measure the ability to do the job.

Female Paramedics Win Chicago Gender Bias Case
Ernst v. City of Chicago | Justia U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Court rules Fire Dept. paramedic test discriminates vs. women
Ernst v. City of Chicago

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Female Law Partner’s Gender Bias Suit Against Her Current Employer Raises Concerns of Pay Equality

Katherine Neff

Kerrie L. Campbell filed suit against her current employer, the law firm Chadbourne & Parke, alleging that she was shut out of leadership positions and paid far less than male partners at her level. According to Ms. Campbell, Chadbourne’s management committee, which determines the compensation for the firm’s partners, is made up of five men, who award male partners more points, which translate into higher dollar compensation, than they do to women. After complaining to the managing partner of pay inequaility, Ms. Campbell alleges that she was told her employment would end at the end of August and her pay was substantially reduced to that of an entry-level associate.
Other women have filed similar suits against their large law firm employers. Last month, Traci M. Ribeiro sued her firm Sedgwick, a large San Francisco based law firm, alleging that the “male-dominated culture” resulted in female lawyers being denied equal pay and equal promotions. Similarly, Kamee Verdrager’s case against her former employer Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsly and Popeo of Boston, is set for trial on her gender discrimination claims. Ms. Verdrager contends that the firm reduced her seniority by two years — which affected her level of pay — then later fired her.
In 2014, Sky Analytics, who provides spend management software to corporate legal departments, released its first ever gender study using actual billing records from law firms. The study, along with a National Association of Women Lawyers study on gender biases in the legal profession, highlighted the pay disparity between men and women. We blogged about these studies in 2014.
Hopefully the publicity surrounding these lawsuits, along with the 2014 studies on gender biases in the legal profession, will empower other women to continue coming forward and motivate law firms to cease their unequal billing practices.
Female Lawyer’s Gender-Bias Suit Challenges Law Firm Pay Practices by Elizabeth Olsonaug of The New York Times. Published August 31, 2016.

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