NY Labor Dept. investigates former Fox News reporter’s gender discrimination allegations: report

NY Labor Dept. investigates former Fox News reporter’s gender discrimination allegations: report
Melissa Francis on Fox News in 2020. Image via screengrab.

Melissa Francis is among the former Fox News employees who has had a legal battle with the right-wing cable news outlet, filing a gender discrimination lawsuit and alleging retaliation on their part. Now, according to Daily Beast reporters Diana Falzone and Justin Baragona, the New York State Labor Department is investigating Francis’ allegations.

Kevin Mintzer, Francis’ attorney, told the Beast, “Ms. Francis filed a charge with the New York State Department of Labor because Fox News has not changed and continues to discriminate and retaliate against women, including those who seek equal pay for equal work.”

The Beast, according to Falzone and Baragona, asked the New York State Labor Department for a comment on the investigation but was told, “The NYS DOL does not comment (confirm nor deny) on potential or pending investigations.” And a Fox News spokesperson would not comment on the probe either but told the Beast that Fox News “parted ways with Melissa Francis nearly a year ago.”

Francis is by no means the only female ex-employee of Fox News and/or Fox Business who has had a legal battle with them. Others have ranged from Gretchen Carlson and Andrea Tantaros, and Falzone herself is a former Fox News employee who filed a gender-based discrimination lawsuit against them.

Francis, a former actress, worked at CNBC before her association with Fox News and its sister channel Fox Business. She spent roughly eight years with Fox News, starting in 2012.

Falzone and Baragona note, “Last October, Francis was pulled off both her regular co-hosting slot on midday roundtable show ‘Outnumbered’ and her own mid-afternoon Fox Business Network program. At the time, Fox News did not publicly comment on her status, instead framing the changes as an example of the network going about its normal business.”

But on October 22, 2020, the Los Angeles Times’ Stephen Battaglio reported that Francis was gone from Fox News and Fox Business and was alleging “gender-based pay discrimination.”

Battaglio reported, “One person close to Francis says she has been fired. Francis had been working at Fox News without a contract for nearly a year. She had filed a gender-based pay discrimination claim against the company that has been in arbitration, according to one person familiar with the proceedings.”

According to Falzone and Baragona, the New York State Labor Department’s “ongoing investigation” of Francis’ allegations against Fox News/Fox Business started in March. The reporters note, “The news that New York’s labor department is investigating Fox News comes just a few months after the network settled with New York City’s Commission on Human Rights for $1 million over what the government deemed ‘a pattern of violating the NYC Human Rights Law.’ The settlement represented an effective admission to retaliating against staffers over sexual misconduct and discrimination claims.”

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