Fox News, a national media outlet whom many in Rhode Island have grown either to love or to hate, has reportedly entered in to a quiet settlement of a sexual harassment claim with one of its former reporters. This news comes on the heels of a separate sexual harassment scandal that brought down a leading Fox News executive earlier this year.
According to reports, one of Fox News's best known personalities, Bill O'Reilly, made unwanted sexual advances toward a colleague of his, former reporter who at times appeared on the air with him. The woman claims that O'Reilly tried to have a relationship with her, but she refused. He then took steps to make sure she did not continue to advance as a reporter.
Some of the reporter's allegations suggest Mr. O'Reilly acted inappropriately in other ways, such as appearing to the woman wearing nothing but his undergarments and attempting to give her a kiss when she did not want to be kissed. Supposedly, an executive a Fox News also accosted the reporter and then tried to harm her career when she did not reciprocate.
Sources say the network settled the reporter's claims for a substantial six-figure sum in exchange for the reporter not pursuing the matter further.
If anything, this case goes to show that Rhode Island employees in all professions can and should expect to a workplace free from sexual harassment. Both direct sexual harassment at the hands of a supervisor and latent harassment in the form of a hostile work environment are not acceptable and illegal under Rhode Island law. Rhode Island employees who have been subjected to sexual harassment may be entitled to compensation and other relief.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Fox News secretly settled Bill O'Reilly sexual harassment case: reports," Willa Frej, Jan. 10, 2017.