Colleen Dominguez has settled her gender and age discrimination lawsuit against Fox Sports 1, Deadspin has learned. On Jan. 20, attorneys for both the reporter and her former employer filed a joint motion in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, asking for the case to be dismissed.
Via email, Dominguez confirmed that her case has been “resolved,” but declined to comment further. The filing requests that the case be dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning Dominguez cannot refile the suit. No financial terms were included in the dismissal motion, or announced by either side after it was filed on Jan. 20. In August, both sides filed a motion for confidentiality barring litigants from disclosing any “documents, information or other materials” related to the case.
In her original complaint, which was filed in federal court in December 2015, Dominguez alleged bosses at the network treated her differently than younger women and all men were treated in the workplace, and accused management of retaliating against her for reporting discriminatory behavior.
Dominguez, who came to FS1 from ESPN in March 2014 and was described in the original complaint as 54 years old, had accused superiors of pulling her off choice assignments, such as working a Super Bowl telecast and sit-down interviews she’d arranged with Madison Bumgarner and Rory McIlroy, to give the assignments to younger, less-experienced colleagues. She also alleged higher-ups at FS1 were more concerned with her physical appearance than with her reporting during performance critiques, a different standard than veteran male colleagues at the network faced.
A former FS1 co-worker told Deadspin that bosses made it clear that they wanted Dominguez to model herself after a younger network star, Erin Andrews, who is now 38. One part of that makeover, the source said, included advising Dominguez to get hair extensions from the same stylist “who did J-Lo’s extensions.” Dominguez’s relationship with FS1 got worse, according to multiple colleagues, when she refused to alter her looks simply to appease her employer.
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The Dominguez case ends in the wake of a slew of reports about harassment in the FS1 workplace. Multiple sources told Deadspin that an FS1 producer, Jacquelyn Bower, was laid off simply because she told management that she felt Dominguez had indeed been victimized by gender bias at the network. In court filings, FS1 attorneys denied the allegations made in Dominguez’s complaint, but declined Deadspin’s request to comment on the suit or on Bower’s dismissal. The network took some steps that seemed directly related to the gender-based workplace tumult, however, including bringing in former movie star Geena Davis to speak at a seminar on the role of women in media. (Attendees told Deadspin the proceedings got awkward when Davis was asked to comment on the Dominguez lawsuit. Davis did not address the Dominguez case in response, but told the audience to watch The Hunting Ground, a documentary on campus rape, and brought up the decades of sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby.)
Dominguez’s attorney, Paul Gleason, declined to comment on the settlement.
While Dominguez’s attorneys signed the dismissal motion on Dec. 9, 2016, FS1 attorneys only signed the document on Jan. 20, the day they filed it with the federal court. That day, the nation’s attention was consumed with the inauguration President Donald Trump, and the settlement went unnoticed by the media.
That lack of attention was surely welcomed by FS1’s parent company, Fox Entertainment Group (FEG), which has in recent months gotten scads of publicity for settling claims arising from alleged mistreatment of female employees. In September, Fox paid a reported $20 million to Gretchen Carlson to get out of a harassment suit against former network boss and presidential adviser Roger Ailes, who also publicly apologized to her as part of the settlement. Ailes resigned amid oodles of media attention focusing on the harassment allegations made by Carlson and other women at the network, including Megyn Kelly. Fox also paid a sum reported to be “in the high six figures” to Juliet Huddy, who alleged that both network cash cow Bill O’Reilly and Fox News president Jack Abernethy, who took Ailes’s place after the Carlson scandal, made unwanted romantic advances on and off the job.
FSI attorney Seth Pierce, whose signature appears on the dismissal motion, did not respond to Deadspin’s request for comment.