NEW YORK: Fox News Network is facing a federal lawsuit from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that claims the company created a ?hostile work environment? for a group of female employees.
According to the complaint, Fox News allegedly retaliated against Kim Weiler, a former freelancer for the network, and other unnamed parties, for complaining about sex discrimination.
The complaint also alleges that Joe Chillemi, a VP in the advertising and promotions department, "routinely used gross obscenities and vulgarities when describing women or their body parts."
The 20-person department comprises approximately 10 women.
The complaint also charges that during a discussion about sexism in the workplace, Chillemi said that in choosing whom to hire, "if it came down between a man and a woman, of course I'd pick the man. The woman would most likely get pregnant and leave."
Steve Mintz, a lawyer representing Fox News in the case, said some of the claims in the complaint are true, but would not specify as to which.
"It's Fox News position that the case is legally baseless and should never have been brought in the first place," he said.
The EEOC's case, he noted, amounts to nothing more than "someone using bad words in the workplace.
"Federal discrimination laws are not a civility code and do not prohibit... bad curse words," he said, adding that the language was used around both men and women.
But Judy Keenan, trial attorney for EEOC on the case, said that point is irrelevant.
"It doesn't matter whether [the language is] used around men or women. If it's degrading to women and implies that women shouldn't be treated the same as men, its illegal discrimination," she said. "Women were harassed more than men."
Fox News has mandatory company wide sexual harassment training.