A former employee of Fox News on Monday accused former on-air host Ed Henry of a “violent, painful” 2017 rape, in a lawsuit that targeted the network and some of its top on-air personalities of pervasive sexual harassment and misconduct. The filing accused Fox News anchors Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Howard Kurtz of making unwanted sexual advances toward the two women, but made no allegations of physical violence other than those levied against Henry. Fox News announced Henry was fired Wednesday, saying in a statement he was accused of “willful sexual misconduct” by a former network employee. “Ed Henry denies the allegations referenced in Fox’s announcement this morning and is confident that he will be vindicated after a full hearing in an appropriate forum,” attorney Catherine Foti said in a statement to USA Today.

Henry responded Thursday by denying the allegation.

 

“Sexual Harassment” background.

 

In 1975, a feminist Cornell professor named Lin Farley came up with the term “sexual harassment” to refer to the many reported incidents at work that her students experienced, recognizing it as a widespread problem.  Previous to that time, the now openly frowned upon behavior was so common in the workplace, it did not have a name.  Attorney and Legal Scholar Catharine MacKinnon pushed forward the legal claim for sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as workplace discrimination giving women an avenue to sue for damages under the law. It has been forty-five years since the “sexual harassment” label was introduced to the public, acknowledging the extent of the damage sexual harassment has caused in the workplace and beyond, as seen in the  “Me Too” movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault that was brought to the forefront in October 2017, even though the movement began in 2006.

 

Venue.

Sexual harassment can occur at work, at school, at church, and any place where there is supposed to be professional interaction between human beings.  Harassment is a form of employment discrimination and a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the American Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Sexual discrimination is when you are discriminated against for being male or female, and for being pregnant, with regard to work environment, gaining promotions, gender salary gap and reductions of benefits based on gender. The discriminators in these cases are usually managers, bosses, and supervisors in places of employment, although sometimes co-workers discriminate as well.

Workplace.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is when someone forces unwelcome advances on you through physical contact of a sexual nature or makes requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature and is punishable by law.  Both harassment and sexual harassment are discriminatory, but the latter is sexual in nature.  Claims of sexual harassment can include individuals who have been affected by workplace sexual harassment, even third parties who have witnessed it, due to the negative emotional impact it has on them.  Sexual harassment claims are only valid if the sexual behavior exhibited is unwelcomed, and it can affect both men and women in the workplace, without relevance to positions held at a place of employment. Harassment is illegal when it is so frequent, or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment, or when it results in an adverse employment decision, such as a victim being fired, transferred, or demoted.  The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

Legal options.

Victims have legal recourse against sexual harassment, and seeking legal counsel is the first thing you should do after reporting the abuse through the proper channels at your job, or at school, or wherever the incident took place, if there are procedural guidelines set up that you must follow.  Once the particulars of your case are laid out, experienced attorneys can assist with civil and/or criminal action to provide victims with damages resulting from the sexual harassment, or assault.

 

Sources:

https://metoomvmt.org/about/#history

https://www.justice.gov/crt/fcs/TitleVI-Overview

https://www.ada.gov/

https://www.eeoc.gov/statutes/title-vii-civil-rights-act-1964

https://www.eeoc.gov/statutes/age-discrimination-employment-act-1967

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