Bias suit hits Fox’s N.Y. O&O

A staffer at Fox’s Gotham station WNYW-TV has filed a $ 1 million discrimination suit in New York’s U.S. District Court against her employer.

Christine von Obenauer, a three-year employee of the station, is seeking $ 500,000 for pain and suffering and another $ 500,000 in punitive damages because she alleges the station penalized her for complaining about the sexual misconduct of a high-ranking exec.

The suit claims that an unnamed senior executive made a “lewd, indecent and sexually harassing remark about her breasts.”

Obenauer maintains that, after admonishing the exec about making such comments in the future, she reported the incident to Jean Fuentes, VP of personnel for the Fox Television Stations.

Obenauer asserts that Fuentes instructed her to apologize to the executive, even though others had allegedly made similar complaints. When she refused to apologize, the suit states the station began “a campaign of retaliation” that continues to this day.

Although the plaintiff always received positive job performance evaluations, the suit alleges that she has consistently been denied promotions “for which she applied and for which she was qualified.” Jobs she sought went to less qualified candidates, according to the suit.

Following an operation and radiation treatment for breast cancer in May 1991, Obenauer’s suit claims, Fuentes suggested that she devote herself to more spiritual pursuits rather than promotions.

When Obenauer filed a discrimination complaint against Fuentes, she maintains that she was immediately demoted from the general manager’s administrative assistant to a position in the traffic department and told either to accept the new job or resign.

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