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Judge dismisses reporter's discrimination, retaliation case against Fox News

Posted On: Aug. 30, 2011 12:00 AM CST

WASHINGTON—Fox News Network L.L.C. has won dismissal of a case in which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission contended the network violated federal discrimination and retaliation laws in its treatment of a reporter.

The EEOC had charged New York-based Fox News with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 with respect to its treatment of reporter and former anchor Catherine Herridge.

The case, which was heard by U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon in Washington, was Equal Employment Opportunity Commission vs. Fox News Network L.L.C.

An EEOC investigation resulted in its 2010 determination that Ms. Herridge had not been discriminated against personally. The EEOC's investigation, though, did conclude that Fox News had retaliated against Ms. Herridge because she opposed discrimination.

The dispute focused on prolonged negotiations for Ms. Herridge's 2008-2011 contract. It also involved her demand for a five-year contract, rather than the typical three-year contract, among other issues.

However, after a close examination of the record, Judge Leon ruled last week “that no jury could find that Herridge’s alleged harms would constitute a materially adverse action in the mind of a reasonable employee.”

Judge Leon also stated that Ms. “Herridge’s allegations of retaliation, and her eagerness to blame Fox News for delays in salary negotiations, are belied by the persistent and unfeasible demands detailed in the record. Accordingly, a reasonable jury could not infer retaliation from the record and plaintiff’s claims must be dismissed.”