A Fox News Channel employee found herself in front of the cameras today. Jane Clark, a 12-year veteran of the network, is suing due to the bed bug infestation at the news channel. “They made a lot of mistakes,” Clark says of her employer.
Fox News is not named in the suit. But seven other entities are, including the building’s owner, management company and maintenance company. Because FNC parent News Corp. is paying full Workers Compensation to Clark, which includes being treated three times a week by a psychologist and frequent doctor visits, legal action cannot be brought against them.
Clark’s lawyer Alan Schnurman described the, “acute psychological injuries,” resulting from Clark being bitten three times by bed bugs. She has not returned to her job as satellite desk coordinator since May 12.
TVNewser was the first to report the story back in November, the month of Clark’s second bite. She says the first happened a month earlier, but the problem arose last August, when one of her co-workers complained of bites. “The first time I told my employers they were well aware of the problem,” she says.
The problem was reportedly “totally eradicated” in March, but Clark alleges her third bite occurred on April 30, even after the entire satellite desk was moved to another floor to combat the problem. A News Corp. insider tells us there’s no proof the bed bugs moved when the employees switched floors. How does Clark think it happened?
“Before April 30 we were told they were bringing up new chairs. After we questioned them we found out they were not new chairs, just treated chairs from the infested area,” she said. She brought a written doctor’s note to Fox News human resources in early May, and was told there were already meetings on the matter.
TVNewser has learned Clark’s doctor’s note says she was “seen with insect bites” but does not specify “bed bugs.”
TVNewser has also obtained the OSHA letter to Fox News from March, which says, “We have determined that our file on this matter can be closed, and no further action on this complaint is anticipated at this time.”
When the problem started last fall, Clark says her bosses were not understanding. “The next afternoon my supervisor was upset I had moved my desk,” she says. “She threw me out and told me I was the one making everyone uncomfortable at work.”
Fox News offered voluntary, and later mandatory, treatments at some employees’ homes, which led FNC to pinpoint which employee was the cause of the bed bugs in the newsroom.
Clark describes what happened after identifying the person she suspected of bringing the bed bugs into the newsroom. “I was actually sharing a workstation with him. When I gave them his name they told me I shouldn’t be pointing fingers and blaming people,” she says.
Clark says she and other staff members resorted to, “catching bugs on tape as they crawled across my desk or on my chair.” She says she was instructed to “strip down” before she walked into her house and put her clothes in a bag for 24 hours in an effort to suffocate the bugs.
“They made a lot of mistakes,” she says of Fox News. “When they told us they were spraying at first they weren’t.”