Los Angeles partner Kate Gold has been quoted in a series of articles related to former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit against former Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. The case has received widespread attention across the country, with some citing the lawsuit as a more prevalent example of the media industry’s sexism. Since Carlson’s lawsuit, several other women have come forward with harassment allegations. The case is noteworthy because Carlson did not name her employer in the lawsuit.
Kate told Law360 that leaving Fox News out as a defendant is an unusual step. “It is definitely more typical to include both the alleged harasser and the employer in a complaint of this type, especially since a significant part of her claim is that her contract of employment was not renewed by Fox News due to retaliation for her reports of harassment,” Kate said.
During the harassment investigation, Roger Ailes resigned from the network. Hollywood Reporter noted that some state that Fox News released Ailes to mitigate poor company press.
“A lawsuit is a lawsuit and there’s still exposure for damages even if the alleged perpetrator isn’t high-profile," Kate said. "From my perspective, a company is going to take the action that’s going to correct the problem because they don’t want to be exposed to liability in any kind of proceeding, whether it's arbitration or a jury trial."
The Los Angeles Times reported that since Roger Ailes’ resignation, many employment professionals have stated that a settlement or resolution seems likely. Though Fox reduces potential liability by ousting Ailes, Kate noted that more women may feel encouraged to come forward.
“It does validate the claims in some way and I think that that can potentially be a motivating factor for other women who have a similar story to come forward because they think they’ll be believed,” Kate said.
Read "If Investigators Find Roger Ailes Harassment, Lawyers Say Fox is Obligated to Act" in the Hollywood Reporter.
Read “Fox News may have just opened itself up to more lawsuits with Roger Ailes’ resignation” in the Los Angeles Times.
Read “Ex-Fox News Anchor’s Suit Puts Media Sexism In Spotlight — For Now” in Law360.