Gretchen Carlson risked her entire livelihood by suing Fox News’ CEO Roger Ailes over his alleged sexual harassment. Though she could win more than $100 million dollars, a legal expert EXCLUSIVELY tells HollywoodLife.com that if she loses, her journalism career is over.
There’s more at stake with Gretchen Carlson’s, 50, lawsuit than people think. Though the former-Fox & Friends star could win big if she proves that Fox News’ Roger Ailes, 76, and Steve Doocy, 59, sexually harassed her, an expert EXCLUSIVELY tells HollywoodLife.com that Gretchen could lose a lot more than just her legal case.
“What happened to Gretchen is called a quid pro quo request, as in if ‘you do this sexual favor for me, I will do something for you’ and that type of activity is illegal under federal law,” Sexual Harassment Attorney David Spivak EXCLUSIVELY tells HollywoodLife.com. “If you are forced to work in a hostile work environment like that, that is illegal too.
“Companies are liable for sex harassment that happens by officers of the company,” says David. “In this case, FOX is responsible for Ailes behavior. The company is on the hook even if they didn’t know about the actions of Ailes. It is like FOX did the harassment. FOX can be held can be held accountable for punitive damages, as well as compensatory. And the punitive damages can be as much as 10 times more than compensatory.”
Gretchen can seek compensation if she had to see a therapist.
“If Gretchen suffered emotional distress in where she needed to seek the professional help of a therapist, or psychologist, she can seek compensation for all of that in court. A jury can give any amount that is reasonable and fair for her emotional pain and suffering. Then there is lost present wages and future earnings. If she can prove that she may not be able to find another job as a result of the suit she could seek compensation for earnings from now until the age of retirement.”
“That could easily total $100 million for a high-profile person like Gretchen,” David tells HollywoodLife.com. “It all depends on what a judge or jury thinks is fair. A jury of 12 could think it is unfair and rule for FOX or rule for her and give her the bank and give her 10 or 20 million or more.”
In order to win, Gretchen needs solid evidence.
“The best way for Gretchen to win is to have solid evidence that Ailes said the things that she claims he said,” according to David. “Gretchen needs witnesses, or texts or emails, or some proof that Ailes said these things. If it is her word against his then she may have a tough time. She has the burden of proof as the plaintiff. She needs to prove her case to the jury. She needs the stronger case. You need eyewitnesses or documents to prove her claims.”
Other victims can help her win her case.
“If other women come forward with similar claims against Ailes then that could help Gretchen’s cause. If they all describe similar experiences, that could be the proof she needs. That is going to go along way with the jury even if she has no other proof.”
Gretchen’s career may be over for good if she loses.
“If Gretchen loses this case that could be a problem for her. It is an unwritten rule in corporate America that if you sue someone for sexual harassment and lose then you are not to be trusted and not to be hired. Her next potential boss will worry she will sue [them] next and not hire her,” David tells HollywoodLife.com. “Gretchen may never work again if she loses this case.“
Her credibility as a journalist will also be ruined.
“Furthermore, Gretchen has a job which requires her to be trustworthy. In her job, her credibility is everything. If she loses, it is assumed she lied and that could hurt her chances of working elsewhere ever again. So the stakes are very high for her and she has a lot on the line here.”
She has a major legal battle ahead of her because Fox is very powerful.
“FOX has lots of resources and power. They can dig a lot of dirt on the plaintiff. FOX will try to show she can not be trusted. The employer will say she is a liar and they will try to show proof that she is a liar, that she is a tramp, and that she can not be trusted. If FOX can show that evidence, they could sway a jury who could think Gretchen was OK with Ailes’ behavior. Then the jury may rule against the plaintiff.”
It all comes down to convincing the jury.
Ultimately, it comes down to having the more convincing case. “Juries care more about credibility than anything,” David tells HollywoodLife.com. “If it gets out that Gretchen is not trustworthy she could lose the case and it will be hard for her to find work.”
What do you think is going to happen, HollywoodLifers? Do you think Gretchen will get justice, or will she be blacklisted from journalism for the rest of her life?