For some 16 months, Karolina Wilson worked as a personal assistant to Fox television host Laura Ingraham.
Wilson, writes The Washington Post, handled the celebrity anchor’s scheduling, checked and arranged her travel plans. She did what she could to make Ingraham’s life less hectic, down to sending e-mails and collaborating with household staff.
The demands of her position, says Wilson, required that she keep in constant contact with her boss and mentor. The two women spoke seven days per week, sometimes coordinating events and sending correspondences until early morning.
“I think things were going very well,” said Wilson. “Laura is a very demanding person who is not easily satisfied, but I always satisfied her and she was always happy with my work.
“She never complained to me about anything. I was tired. It was a lot, but I loved that kind of work. That’s why I do it.”
But in March of 2017, Wilson became pregnant with her first child. Once she told her boss, the woman claims, Ingraham became “distant and angry,” turning ever-more critical.
“Ingraham was hyper critical of Plaintiff’s job performance in ways she was not before she announced her pregnancy,” claims the suit, which was filed in February in Superior Court of the District of Columbia. In one incident, referred to in the complaint, Ingraham supposedly said Fox executives “need to can Karolina” because “she is a colossal fuck up.”
Trying to negotiate her terms of absence with Ingraham and Fox, Wilson says she was given a hard bargain. The company asked that she return to work just a week after delivery. While the unusually strict terms caused some friction between Wilson and Ingraham, both parties eventually agreed on eight weeks of leave.
A stipulation, added in by Ingraham and her media company, required that Wilson resume working from home two to three weeks after giving birth. Feeling “pressured,” the assistant agreed, taking on responsibility for “managing Ingraham’s work and personal schedules, managing household employees and managing Ingraham’s travel.”
Wilson’s in-office intern, notes the New York Daily News, covered what she couldn’t.
A day after returning from maternity leave, Karolina Wilson was told to go home. She’s since sued the Fox News host and her company, Ingraham Media, under D.C.’s Pregnant Workers and Fairness Act and Family Leave and Medical Act.
Told that her intern would fill her position, Ingraham Media let Wilson stay aboard for another three weeks so that she could collect unemployment benefits. During that time, claims the suit, Wilson wasn’t provided with the time to take lunch breaks or a private space to pump breast milk.
Ingraham’s attorneys say the charges are bogus.
“Ms. Wilson’s claims are wholly without merit as our filed defenses to the Complaint make abundantly clear,” said lawyer Betty S.W. Graumlich. “We look forward to litigating this case vigorously.”