Gretchen Carlson’s Lawyer: Harvey Weinstein Can Be Sued by Employees He Never Targeted

Nancy Ericka Smith got Carlson a $20 million settlement

Last Updated: October 16, 2017 @ 6:33 PM

Harvey Weinstein could faces a wide range of civil lawsuits and criminal charges involving any women he propositioned, touched or assaulted — but he could also get sued by employees he never targeted, according to the lawyer who negotiated Gretchen Carlson’s $20 million settlement.

New Jersey employment lawyer Nancy Ericka Smith represented Carlson in the 2016 sexual harassment lawsuit that led to the exit of her boss, Fox News chief Roger Ailes. He died in May 2017, eight months after Fox News agreed to pay $20 million to settle the case.

“Men cannot go around putting out their d—s in the workplace,” Smith told TheWrap. “If his come-ons make it difficult to come to work, if it made the work lives of his assistants difficult, that violates New York and California law.”

Hostile work environment and demanding sex in exchange for a job are both considered sexual harassment, Smith said.

According to Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker story about widespread accusations that Weinstein committed sexual misconduct ranging from harassment to rape, many at his companies were aware of his behavior.

“Sixteen former and current executives and assistants at Weinstein’s companies told me that they witnessed or had knowledge of unwanted sexual advances and touching at events associated with Weinstein’s films and in the workplace,” Farrow wrote.

One executive said Weinstein would use female employees to lure his victims into a false sense of security.

“It almost felt like the executive or assistant was made to be a honeypot to lure these women in, to make them feel safe,” the executive told Farrow. “Then he would dismiss the executive or the assistant, and then these women were alone with him. And that did not feel like it was appropriate behavior or safe behavior.”

Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Company and is under criminal investigation in New York and London after several women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct, including harassment and rape. A representative for Weinstein has stated, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”