As Sexual Harassment Allegations Surface at LSU, Les Miles and Kansas Part Company

Employment attorneys in Orange County have learned that Les Miles is no longer the Head Football Coach at the University of Kansas as he was terminated earlier this week. This move came after sexual harassment allegations were brought forth from his tenure as the Head Football Coach at LSU. Mr. Miles was initially put on administrative leave by Kansas, but the separation is now complete and permanent. The specific terms of his departure will be made public in the days to come. Jeff Long, University of Kansas Athletic Director, said that an outside firm was hired to assist the school in its immediate search for a new head coach. Mr. Long also said that he was very disappointed for the fans, the University, and everyone associated with the school’s football program. Long also mentioned their ultimate goal is continuing to win football games.

Les Miles

Photo Credit Sports Pulse – Jeff Wolken

Reports of Sexual Misconduct Allegedly Mishandled

Following a series of investigative reports from USA Today, a legal firm was hired by LSU to investigate the way the school and its athletic department allegedly mishandled sexual harassment accusations, as well as accusations of domestic abuse. That investigation uncovered multiple claims of harassment by female LSU students against Mr. Miles, which ended with a recommendation from then-LSU athletic director, Joe Alleva, to terminate Mr. Miles with cause. In spite of this recommendation, however, Mr. Miles retained his employment at LSU until he was let go following a 2-2 start in 2016. Mr. Long then hired Mr. Miles as the Head Football Coach at Kansas a few years later, but his former issues have once again caught up to him.

Multiple Sexual Harassment Accusations from Female LSU Students

One of the many incidents investigated was one that took place in 2013, when a female student alleged that Mr. Miles told her she was good looking and kissed her twice without her permission. The accusation was denied by Mr. Miles, but the report went on to say it appeared that he executed poor judgment by creating a situation in which a student employee was made to feel uncomfortable.

The report, created by the law firm Husch Blackwell, was released last week and stated that an employee of the athletic department referred to one student as “completely traumatized” after alleged contact with Mr. Miles. Following the conclusion of the 2013 investigation, LSU banned Mr. Miles from communicating with female students or being alone with them in any setting.

Photo Credit – USA Today- Jeff Biggerstaff

Mr. Miles Speaks of a Bright Future for Kansas Football

Mr. Miles described his termination as “difficult” for he and his family, and he said that he loved the school and the students in the football program. He expressed confidence that the football program is in a better place now than it was when he initially took the position. He encouraged student athletes at the school to earn their degrees and spoke of a bright future for them and for Kansas football.

Peter Ginsberg, Mr. Miles’s sexual harassment attorney, stated that he was “unfairly maligned.” With regard to the team, however, Kansas is in a difficult situation with spring football on the horizon, as the Jayhawks are now missing a Head Coach for the rest of March. Kansas said that a nationwide search for a new coach was launched on Monday, and, in the interim, Mike DeBord will serve as the acting head coach for the team.

 

New York Governor Accused of Sexual Abuse

Andrew Cuomo, New York Governor, has been accused of sexual harassment by a former aide, who has referred to him as “a textbook abuser.” Cuomo’s former Health Policy Advisor and Executive Assistant, Charlotte Bennett, told CBS Evening News that the governor tried to proposition her for sex last spring, during what she described as a very uncomfortable encounter. She stated that she remembered thinking she needed to get out of the room as soon as possible because the governor was “propositioning [ … her] for sex.”

Bennett claimed it was one of many incidents in which Cuomo, who is 63 years old, acted inappropriately. Cuomo is facing similar charges from two other women. The former Chief of Staff of the Economic Agency in New York, Lindsey Boylan, said the governor inappropriately touched and kissed her during a private meeting. Another accuser, Anna Ruch, who, unlike the other two women, did not work for Cuomo, stated that he put his hand on her bare lower back in 2019 at a friend’s wedding.

Andrew Cuomo

Photo by Andrew Kelly – Reuters

Bennett Calls the Governor “a Textbook Abuser”

Bennett described Cuomo as “a textbook abuser” who allows his temper and anger to run the workplace, although she said he was very sweet to her for approximately a year. Bennett contends Cuomo only acted this way in the hopes of becoming more than her friend. Bennett claims the governor constantly questioned her about her history as a survivor of sexual assault and repeatedly asked questions about her current love life. She said that she believes abusers look for previous traumas or other vulnerabilities in those they target, as those who have such a history may view a harasser’s behavior as acceptable.

Bennett’s Attorney Contradicts Cuomo’s Statements

In a statement to Law and Crime, Debra Katz, Bennett’s sexual harassment attorney, alleged that Cuomo’s press conference was full of lies and inaccurate information, particularly when he stated that he never meant to harm anyone and that he was embarrassed to discover that he made anyone uncomfortable.

Katz went on to say that Bennett reported the alleged harassment immediately to the governor’s chief of staff and chief counsel, and she believes further investigation will prove that both failed to act in Bennett’s best interests and that this was a violation of their legal duty. The governor maintains whatever happened was not intentional on his part and he was unaware he was acting inappropriately.

Lindsey Boylan, who was first to come forward with sexual harassment allegations, tweeted to the governor asking him how the people of New York could trust him if he was unaware that he was being inappropriate with his own staff. Boylan accused the governor of harassment during multiple incidents over the course of two years, which included the governor kissing her on the lips without her consent.

All claims of sexual harassment are being investigated by Letitia James, New York’s Attorney General. Those who believe they have been victims of harassment, or who have been falsely accused of such activity, should consult an employment attorney in Orange County for advice and guidance.

 

 

Sexual Harassment Claims Filed Against Former Orange County DA Supervisor

Orange County employment attorneys have learned that a former high-ranking supervisor at a District Attorney’s Office suddenly left his position in December 2020 after harrassment charges were filed agianst him: Gary Logalbo allegedly made racist comments, and three female employees accused him of sexual harassment.

The three female prosecutors accused Logalbo of continuous harassment consisting of inappropriate comments and suggestions. They made these accusations and filed claims against Logalbo, current district attorney Todd Spitzer, and the county itself. Logalbo was recently promoted to a high-ranking position, and his duties included overseeing prosecution operations at various court houses in the county.

 

Gary Logolbo Orange County DA Supervisor

Photo by Eleanor Segura – Daily Titan

Allegations of Sexual Harassment Date Back to 2019

The internal complaints, which typically form the basis for harassment lawsuits, were filed in January anonymously, and the individuals are seeking damages for sexual harassment that they allege took place since 2019. One claimant said that when she leaned over to plug a cord into an electrical outlet, Logalbo took a picture of her buttocks with his cell phone, stating that he would save it for “later use.” He was also accused of making a racist remark that targeted a deputy public defender whose name was of Middle Eastern ethnicity. It was said that he referred to the man as a terrorist.

The three women alleging sexual harassment claim they delayed reporting the conduct because Logalbo appeared to have “best friend” status with Spitzer, who acknowledged the connection but claimed the two were not as close as suggested. Spitzer stated that he immediately took action as soon as he was aware of the allegations, and began an investigation. In an email to the Orange County Register, Spitzer referred to the specifics of the claims as “beyond disturbing” and “reprehensible.” However, he maintained that he had no knowledge of the allegations until the complaints were filed.

Logalbo Abruptly Resigns Shortly After Being Promoted

Logalbo was given the senior assistant district attorney position in September 2020, and his promotion became effective on November 13, 2020. Shortly thereafter, on December 11, 2020,  Logalbo abruptly resigned.

Some of the women accused Logalbo of doing things like knocking on the closed office doors of women and asking “are you naked?” Other allegations included him sneaking up on female subordinates and placing a cold soda can against their bare necks or backs. One woman alleged that Logalbo threatened to “spank” a female attorney, and told another he wanted to wear her panties like a hat on his head. Still another claimant accused Logalbo of attempting to adjust the back label of her sports bra that was presumably sticking out, as she prepared for a workout. She claimed that he tried it again later, but she ducked away.

Documents Filed by Attorneys in Orange County Claim Witnesses Were Involved

Attorney Matt Murphy, former homicide prosecutor and now a private attorney, filed the documents for the case. Murphy said the report stated that other high-level prosecutors were witnesses to certain episodes of harassment, but that they took no action to stop the conduct.

Spitzer told the Orange County Register that he took action as soon as the problem was brought to light and provided a timeline to the mewspaper. Ultimately, Logalbo was placed on paid leave on December 11, 2020, but resigned the same day. The Register was unable to reach Logalbo for comment.

Orange County District AttorneyTodd Spitzer during a press conference about a burglary ring in Santa Ana, CA, on Monday, May 18, 2020. The law enforcement officials announced the takedown of a burglary ring that stole nearly $2 million worth of cash, jewelry and guns during dozens of residential break-ins in Orange and San Bernardino counties. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

District Attorney Todd Spitzer (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register)

Five Female Journalists Accuse Angels’ Pitching Coach of Sexual Harassment

Allegations of sexual harassment are once again dogging professionals in the world of sports. On Tuesday, multiple accusations of inappropriate behavior were made against Mickey Callaway, the former manager of the New York Mets. Callaway was expected to serve as the pitching coach for the Los Angeles Angels until his recent suspension.

Mickey Callaway AP Photo Greg Beacham

Mickey Callaway – AP Photo/Greg Beacham

Bombshell Report of Alleged Sexual Harassment

The Athletic published a story on Monday in which five female journalists accused Callaway of a broad range of inappropriate behavior, from continuous lewd text messages to sharing shirtless photos and requesting explicit photos back from the women he was texting. He reportedly also offered to share baseball related information if a woman “got drunk” with him. These incidents allegedly took place when he was manager of the New York Mets.

Callaway was suspended by the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, and Marie Garvey, spokesperson for the team, said they plan to work with Major League Baseball in an ongoing investigation. She stated that the reported behavior violates the values and policies of the Angels Organization. MLB stated that they never knew about any accusations against Callaway.

Callaway was formerly the pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians, and allegations of harassment and inappropriate behavior span his last three jobs, dating back to 2013. Following two seasons as Mets’ manager, the 45-year-old Callaway was hired as pitching coach for the Angels in October 2019.

An anonymous accuser told The Athletic that Callaway was constantly preying on women, and certain people described his behavior as an open secret within the game. Nevertheless, it appears that Callaway rarely had trouble finding desirable jobs in his field.

Alderson Appalled, But Callaway Maintains Innocence

According to Yahoo News, Sandy Alderson, Mets’ General Manager, stated that he was appalled when he first heard about the allegations and said he was not aware of this pattern of behavior, nor had he previously heard of any of the conduct described by the five journalists.

He stated that a review of their current hiring process is underway to make sure that a more comprehensive and thorough vetting of new employees is done in the future. Callaway, who may decide to seek the advice of an employment attorney in Orange County or elsewhere, stated that his conduct was not intended to be disrespectful, and that the relationships he was engaged in were consensual. The former pitching coach is married with children and stated that his wife had been made aware of the journalists’ accusations.

LA Angels response to Mike Callaway

Twitter Response from Los Angles Angels

Women Warned About Callaway’s Behavior

The five women did not say whether or not they had hired a sexual harassment attorney, but two of them indicated that they were warned in advance about Callaway’s behavior by people who worked in baseball, as well as by some of their colleagues in the media world.

Callaway was not the only Mets’ high ranking employee to find himself accused of sexual harassment in recent months.  As Yahoo News reported, Jared Porter was fired by the New York Mets on January 19 after the release of an ESPN report in which he was accused of aggressively harassing a foreign reporter with explicit photos and unwanted advances. He was fired only 37 days after being hired.

It remains to be seen if Callaway will be charged with any type of sexual harassment, or what the accusations will mean for his career in the future.

 

NY Mets GM Fired For Sexually Harassing Texts

After Confessing to Harassing Texts, Jared Porter is Fired as Mets GM

Employment attorneys in Orange County have learned that on Monday night, Jared Porter, the newly hired General Manager of the New York Mets, confessed to sending explicit, harassing texts to a female reporter in 2016. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Mina Kimes, who first broke the story, the incidents took place when Porter was the Director of Professional Scouting for the Chicago Cubs in 2016. Only hours after Porter admitted to sending the texts, Steve Cohen, the Mets’ new owner, fired him. The woman, who may have already sought the advice of sexual harassment attorneys, has communicated with ESPN on the basis of anonymity.

Jared Porter NY Mets

Photo by World News

Allegations of Multiple Inappropriate Text Messages and Pictures

The woman claims Porter sent in excess of 60 texts that she did not answer. She alleges these texts commenced with a lewd picture of a man’s erection. Forty-one-year-old Porter claimed that the explicit picture was not a selfie, but rather a stock image that was more or less meant as a joke. However, he had initially denied sending the female reporter any photos at all when he was first questioned by ESPN.

Porter Fired Tuesday Morning

The decision of the Mets to fire Porter was announced in a tweet early Tuesday morning. The Cubs and the Mets denied having any knowledge of the incident until Monday evening. A statement issued Tuesday morning by Mets’ president Sandy Alderson said that Porter’s conduct regarding the texts didn’t meet the Mets’ standards for personal conduct and professionalism.

Jared Porter Mets Response

First Meeting Leads to a Flurry of Sexual Texts

Porter met the woman in June 2016 in an elevator at Yankee Stadium, after she had moved to the U.S. to cover Major League Baseball as a foreign correspondent. The initial encounter is said to have been brief, although contact information was exchanged.  Later that afternoon, Porter allegedly began texting the woman and asked her three different times to have a drink with him that night. She reported to ESPN that she agreed because she believed Porter was volunteering himself as a source of information about baseball and did not think the meeting would be personal. Nevertheless, she eventually canceled drinks that night and asked if they could instead meet the following day.

Jared Porter Harassment Selfie ESPN

Photo by ESPN

Female Reporter Cuts off Communication After Receiving Sexual Texts

Porter continued to text her, asking if she was involved with anyone and sending her an unsolicited selfie which contained the text “Like?” The woman did not respond to the text. At one point, Porter asked the woman to send him a picture of herself in return. She said that because this is a common practice in her country, she felt obliged to send the selfie. Porter send her three additional pictures; one appeared to be a photo of his crotch with an obvious bulge indicating an erection. The woman claimed she then cut off communication with Porter after receiving these final texts.

Jared Porter InsideExpress

Photo by InsideExpress

Over the next several weeks, Porter reportedly sent multiple photos and approximately 62 unanswered texts to the woman. In one text, sent when they were both at Wrigley Field, he remarked about how beautiful she was. She claimed that the text made her panic and motivated her to hide from Porter.

Porter then texted her requesting that she meet him at a Los Angeles hotel. He allegedly sent her a series of texts the following day as well, including 17 photos, one of which was a nude, erect penis. According to ESPN, the woman eventually showed some of the messages and sexual photos to a player from her home country, who urged her to tell Porter to stop and assisted her with a written response. It is unclear if the woman is currently represented by sexual-harassment lawyers.

Mets President Response

Can sexual harassment exist of the perpetrator and the victim are not coworkers?

Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), which is often broader than federal law, harassers can consist of employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, apprenticeship training programs, any training programs leading to employment, or any person.  Victims of harassment can include employees, applicants, unpaid interns or volunteers, or persons providing services pursuant to a contract.  Organizations, such as the Mets, often have a zero-tolerance policy with respect to sexual harassment, in particular for leaders at the highest levels of the company.

If you believe you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, please call one of our employment attorneys at 949-629-2519, or fill out the form on the contact page.

Source Article: Yahoo! News

Retail Giant H&M Settles Class-Action Suit for $3.8 Million

Retail Giant H&M Settles Class-Action Suit for $3.8 Million

Retail giant H&M plans to pay a settlement of $3.8 million to refute allegations that off-the-clock work is not paid for by the company. The amount will be distributed to H&M employees who were allegedly affected by the establishment’s conduct regarding this matter. A portion of the money will also go to California Labor and Workforce Development Agency and toward employment attorneys’ fees. The settlement now awaits preliminary approval from United States District Judge Edward J. Davila.

H&M and the employees involved in the class-action lawsuit agreed to settle the dispute so that the costs and risks of continued litigation could be avoided. Workers involved in the lawsuit stated they believe the compensation offered in the settlement was fair.

Why the Plaintiffs Would Rather Settle Versus Litigate

Employees explained some of the reasoning behind their willingness to make the motion requesting approval of the settlement rather than continuing to litigate. For most workers involved in the suit, their hesitancy to continue litigating stemmed from concerns about the ultimate cost of trying the case, as well as the possibility, however slight, that they might lose.

For example, one of the complaints they feared might fail in court was their issue with the company’s policy requiring them to complete a security check when their shifts commenced. With regard to wage and hour violations, compensation for the security check could go either way during a trial. If this were the case, it would likely be due to the “de minimis rule” of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which prohibits employees from suing over minuscule amounts of unpaid time that are so short that it is viewed as unreasonable to expect compensation.  California law, however, is generally more liberal than the Fair Labor Standards Act, finding such time to be compensable in most instances.

How Settlement Funds Are Distributed

According to employment attorneys in Orange County, the terms of the H&M wage settlement state that the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency will be paid $75,000 of the $3.8 million, and $41,750 will go to administrative funds. Attorneys’ fees will be approximately $1.27 million, $250,000 is earmarked for legal costs, and workers will receive $15,000 each.

Class Certification Awarded Despite H&M’s Attempt to Prevent It

The class-action lawsuit brought forth by the retailer’s employees survived the company’s attempt to stop workers from gaining class certification. This failed for some claims, but the plaintiffs were ultimately granted class certification. Employees asked Judge Davila for certification of a group of H&M workers who have worked for the retailer since the fall of 2019 and are not exempt from overtime.

The Gray Area of Before-and-After Duties

Employees who perform shift work may encounter tasks before and after their designated start and end time, and some companies may attempt to circumvent payment for such duties. These include those listed in the class-action suit against H&M. Other examples include the time it takes for a person to change into a uniform. If it is essential to the principal activities of their employment, workers must be compensated for the time it takes to don the uniform, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (“SHRM”).

Not all jobs require one to perform duties prior to the start and following the end of a shift; however, federal law requires employees to be paid for many tasks that are outside their typical shift or duties, but nonetheless mandatory. For example, in certain industries, workers may have to attend meetings or participate in trainings. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay workers for lectures and training as well as additional activities, provided they are job-related and mandatory.  California employees may be able to receive compensation for such pre and post shift tasks even if the time is “de minimus” as California law follows a different standard than the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.  An employment attorney is the best person to speak to if a worker has questions about wage and hour violations or other work-related issues.

H&M Retail

Source Article: https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/employment-labor/hm-settles-wage-and-hour-class-action-for-3-8m

 

 

Lack of “Cultural Fit” Cited as Reason for Amy Palcic’s Termination from Texans

Employment attorneys in Orange County are following the story of the termination of Amy Palcic, the former Vice President of Communications for the NFL’s Houston Texans. Palcic referred to her termination as “humiliating,” and this is only the latest in a series of baffling moves made by The Texans, who are becoming known for off and on abrupt changes, as exemplified by the firing of Palcic.

Franchise Altering Moves Made Since October

ESPN’s Adam Schefter said the Texans terminated Palcic for a lack of “cultural fit.” It may not come as a surprise to some people, however, as the Texans have made headlines for a series of franchise altering moves since October. The most notable of these was the alarming lack of return on a trade for DeAndre Hopkins, an All-Pro receiver. This move, among other head scratching decisions lead to the termination of longtime general manager and coach Bill O’Brien just four games into the current season.  While the termination itself was somewhat expected, the Texans again surprised the sports world with its timing.

Texans-Amy-Palcic

Photo Credit – New York Post

Palcic Seeks Legal Advice

Palcic has hired Joseph Ahmad, a lawyer in Houston who has made only one statement so far, in which he confirmed that Palcic retained his services. Many employment attorneys specialize in wrongful termination, gender discrimination, and similar work-related issues that involve unethical or illegal action by a person’s employer.

Ahmad is a lawyer to many executives and has tried numerous cases involving employment issues and breach-of-employment contracts. Palcic may indeed have a contract that was breached. She may also have engaged in protected activity, such as voicing concerns about specific comments made in the workplace by management or raising objections about certain practices which could lead to claims of retaliation.

Regardless of the legal theory, the case could ultimately hinge on whether or not he could poke holes in the “cultural fit” explanation given by the Texans. In other words, if the stated reason for Palcic’s termination can be proven incorrect or baseless, it would suggest that it was merely a cover for a different reason that is in violation of the law.

In the days before her firing, Palcic re-tweeted criticism of members of Donald Trump’s staff and tweeted her support of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, but there is no direct evidence that Palcic was fired because of these actions.

As legal matters go, the termination of the former VP of communications may not be a case for discrimination attorneys and may not be actionable, depending on a broad range of circumstances. It could possibly be disregarded as an inconsequential, organizational change, but all this remains to be seen. Either way, few would argue that Palcic was loved and respected by many of her colleagues, and that the Texans may once again be cast in a terrible light for this decision.

Amy Palcic  Texans

Photo by ClutchPoints

Achievements and Recognition 

In 2017, Palcic won the Pete Rozelle Award, bestowed by the Pro Football Writers of America. Her staff won the 2017 Rozelle Award as well, which is given to the best public relations team in the NFL. In 2019, Palcic was named as one of Houston Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” and included on the WISE “Women of Inspiration” list. WISE is an acronym for the organization “Women in Sports and Events.”  Many predict Palcic will land on her feet, regardless of how her story with the Texans ultimately ends.

 

X-Rated Zoom Call Incident Leads to Jeffrey Toobin’s Untimely Termination

Our employment attorneys in Orange County have learned that The New Yorker has terminated Jeffrey Toobin’s employment after an investigation concerning a Zoom call incident that took place last month. During the call, Toobin inadvertently exposed himself to colleagues during a break in the show. He announced his own termination on Wednesday on Twitter, and wrote that he was fired as a staff writer after having spent 27 years at The New Yorker. A spokesperson for the magazine confirmed Toobin’s statement to Variety, simply stating that Toobin was no longer affiliated with the company as a result of their investigation. 

jeffrey-toobin

CNN Screenshot

Initial Suspension After Zoom Incident

The New Yorker revealed that on October 19th, Toobin was suspended after exposing himself on a Zoom call with WNYC and some of his New Yorker colleagues. Vice’s tech news website, Motherboard, alleged that during the call Toobin was seen masturbating. Toobin made a statement to Motherboard in which he referred to the incident as “an embarrassingly stupid mistake.” He went on to apologize to his coworkers, friends, family and wife, stating that he thought he was off-camera, and therefore not visible or audible to anyone.

Statements Made to VICE

Two individuals on the call made separate statements to VICE, stating that the call was a simulation of the election, and featured some of The New Yorker’s biggest stars: establishment Republicans were played by Jane Mayer, Joe Biden was played by Evan Osnos, Masha Gessen played Donald Trump, Jelani Cobb played establishment Democrats, Sue Halpern was left wing democrats and Andrew Marantz played the far right. The military was played by Dexter Filkins and Jeffrey Toobin played the courts. Also on the call were several other producers from WNYC and The New Yorker. 

Both individuals who spoke to VICE did so under the condition of anonymity, and it was unclear how much was visible to each person, but both said that it was obvious to them that Toobin was masturbating. It occurred at a juncture in the election simulation during which a strategy session was underway. The “Republicans and the Democrats” dispersed to their respective rooms for approximately ten minutes. They said at this point it appeared as if Toobin was on another video call and that when the groups returned from their break out rooms, he could be seen touching himself. 

Following this incident Toobin left the call, then a few minutes later called back in, but seemed entirely unaware of what had been visible to his co-workers in the meantime. The group then continued with the simulation. On the 19th of October, Natalie Raabe–a spokesperson for The New Yorker–said that Jeffrey Toobin was suspended, and that the matter was being investigated. It is not clear whether or not the incident was directly referred to as sexual misconduct by anyone at The New Yorker, but not all comments were made public.

Career Highlights

Toobin wrote “The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson” in 1996, which was eventually adapted by FX to become part of “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” a true-crime series. Toobin is also a chief legal analyst for the cable news channel, CNN. Following the incident, he was granted time off and took a leave of absence. His status at CNN is not yet clear. CNN simply stated that they had approved his request for time off “to deal with a personal issue.”

A source told Motherboard that WNYC instructed staffers to refrain from booking Toobin on its shows or allowing him to work in any other professional capacity with the network. However, WNYC declined to comment, as did Kritsitne Dahl, the latter of whom is Tobin’s literary agent. No sexual harassment charges have been filed and it is not yet clear if Toobin will seek the advice of employment attorneys.

Controversy Surrounds Ellen DeGeneres as She Kicks Off Her Show’s Eighteenth Season

For several months, the Ellen DeGeneres Show–named after its host–has been steeped in controversy. Our employment attorneys in Orange County can confirm that troubling reports have emerged concerning sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as claims of racial insensitivity and intimidation involving some of the show’s staffers. DeGeneres, who is 62, apologized twice to employees for the toxic work environment and said that some employees had been let go. However, an investigation is ongoing, as she was accused of fostering that very environment. Seeking the advice of an employment attorney is typically recommended if one plans to bring such allegations. With regard to the Ellen DeGeneres Show, however, three senior staffers are no longer with the show. Recently, in front of a virtual audience, the talk show host addressed the situation.

Ellen Degeneres talks about sexual harassment

DeGeneres Expresses Regret and Speaks of Necessary Changes

In a candid monologue, DeGeneres acknowledged that things took place that never should have occurred, and she expressed her remorse to those who were affected. She made reference to her position of power and privilege, stating that such a position also comes with responsibility, which she indicated she was willing to bear. DeGeneres went on to say that numerous conversations took place in the recent past between herself and staff members, and that necessary changes were made.

The talk show host spoke of emerging as the “Be Kind Lady,” calling it a “tricky position to be in.” She received this nickname following the suicide of Tyler Clementi, who took his life in 2010 after being bullied in college for being gay. DeGeneres responded to the suicide with a strong message about the need to stop bullying of all kinds. The talk show host confirmed that although she is the kind person seen on television by her fans, she is also like everyone else in the sense that she gets impatient, anxious, frustrated, angry or sad from time to time. She referred to herself as “a work in progress,” during the virtual speech.

An Opportunity to Learn

DeGeneres spoke about how she initially got into show business to make people feel good and laugh. She said she wants her 270 employees to be proud and happy to work with her for this reason. DeGeneres also indicated that she was very sorry if she ever hurt someone’s feelings, and that if she did, she let herself down as well as that person. Later, she referred to such incidents as opportunities to learn.

DeGeneres said that despite the Black Lives Matter protests and the coronavirus pandemic, she still wants her show to be a daily hour of joy and was committed to making it the best season yet, despite the new controversy surrounding it. People Magazine reported that Portia de Rossi, DeGeneres’s wife, was backstage to show her support during the premiere and that DeGeneres received applause from her crew  as she walked off the set following the taping of the announcement.

It is unclear whether or not those who are no longer with the show are pursuing legal actions.  They may choose to seek legal advice from an employment attorney if this is the case.

 

 

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Fox News and Ed Henry

Lawsuit Filed Against Ed Henry Alleges Sexual Assault and Harassment

Ed Henry from Fox News

According to employment attorneys in Orange County, a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed in federal court on Monday against former Fox News anchor, Ed Henry. The suit was filed by a woman previously employed by Fox News, along with a frequent guest of the network. The cable news outlet fired Henry earlier this month after receiving the complaint about his alleged willful sexual misconduct.

Multiple Defendants Named in Suit

Tucker and Hanity

Jennifer Eckhart, a plaintiff in the case, accused Henry of sexual assault, alleging that she was forced to have sex with him against her will in a hotel room. Cathy Areu, the other plaintiff, stated in the filing that sexually graphic messages and photos were sent to her by Henry. The case was filed in Federal Court in the Southern District of New York.

The sexual harassment lawsuit also names some of the most famous anchors of the cable news outlet as defendants, including Howard Kurtz, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and a Fox News contributor, Gianno Caldwell. Fox News hired an outside law firm that reportedly interviewed multiple eyewitnesses, managers, and the aforementioned hosts. The firm stated that Areu’s claims were utterly devoid of merit.

Attorney for Henry Alleges that Relationship was Consensual

Sexual harassment attorneys for Henry claim the relationship between Henry and Eckhart was consensual. Catherine Foti, an attorney for Henry, said that the defendant looks forward to offering evidence and facts to contradict the plaintiff’s allegations. Foti claims part of the evidence that will be presented includes aggressively suggestive communications and graphic photos sent from Eckhart to Henry, rather than the other way around.

Fox News executives have stated that a thorough investigation was conducted after an initial complaint was made on June 25th by a former employee about Henry’s behavior in the past. Fox News President, Jay Wallace, and Fox News Media CEO, Suzanne Scott, said that Henry was suspended the day the complaint was filed, and then ultimately terminated on July 1st, based on the findings of the investigation. Both executives said that complaints of sexual misconduct or harassment are regarded very seriously by the news outlet, and swift action was taken as soon as the problem was brought to their attention.

Fox News no Stranger to Accusations of Harassment in the Workplace

harassment lawsuit against Fox news

In 2016, the cable news station had to confront a series of embarrassing and frequently sordid lawsuits after firing Roger Ailes, its former CEO who allegedly harassed numerous female staff members and other individuals throughout his television career. Ailes denied every charge made against him, including the high-profile case brought by Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson. This lawsuit ignited extensive conflict between Fox News and its parent company.  Roger Ailes died in 2017.

Plaintiffs Eckhart and Areu are seeking damages in a jury trial, but the trial date has not yet been scheduled. Anyone being victimized by sexual harassment or being unjustly accused of such behavior should seek the advice of an employment attorney in Orange County without delay.

 

 

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