5:09pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Fox News Radio Asks Court to Toss Correspondent's Lawsuit
Fox News Radio says a Jerusalem-based correspondent shouldn't be allowed to pursue discrimination claims under New York state laws, according to a motion to dismiss filed Thursday.
Jessica Golloher sued the radio network and its parent company, 21st Century Fox, in May, claiming that she was marginalized because of her gender and was notified her contract wouldn't be renewed within 24 hours of requesting an opportunity to speak with the network's independent investigator.
Fox is asking the court to either dismiss Golloher's suit or compel arbitration, saying the correspondent's claims of employment discrimination and retaliation under the New York State Human Rights Law are meritless and also procedurally barred because she's not a resident of the state.
"Plaintiff alleges that, while she was living and working in Russia and Israel, she experienced gender discrimination," writes attorney Linda Goldstein. "She also alleges that — while still living and working in Israel — her employment was terminated. Nowhere does she claim that the alleged discrimination had the required impact in New York."
After Fox made essentially the same argument in an earlier motion to dismiss, Golloher amended her complaint and asserted that despite physically working abroad she was based in New York City. The network isn't buying it.
"[E]ven assuming that Plaintiff maintained significant contact with her New York-based employer, the Amended Complaint still fails to allege that Plaintiff felt the impact of gender discrimination or retaliation within the geographical boundaries of either the State or City of New York," writes Goldstein.
Fox says Golloher points to only one incident that happened in a New York newsroom. She says she felt mortified after Fox News Radio vice president Mitch Davis announced to the room that "he had added a new setting to Ms. Golloher's audio equipment that would lower the pitch of her voice." The network says Golloher's claim is merely a petty slight that doesn't support a discrimination claim and she's given no basis "to conclude that the remark had anything to do with Plaintiff's gender as opposed to the sound of her voice."
Further, Fox argues that Golloher's employment agreement demands that any dispute be handled before a "mutually selected three-member arbitration panel."
Golloher's attorney, Douglas Wigdor, who represents more than a dozen clients suing Fox for various claims related to harassment, discrimination and retaliation, has not yet commented on the motion.