A former Fox employee, Nancy Finnigan, was paid $100,000 after she claimed she was fired for reporting that Fox once exposed himself to her, among other misconduct.
Another former Fox employee settled for $110,000 after claiming he asked her to perform work for his law firm. That settlement with Kristina Zahn included a clause that the parties would not disparage each other. Fox declined to comment.
Douglas Miller, a former staff member for Republican Sen. Tom Berryhill, received $89,500 this year to settle claims he was fired for complaining about a racist and sexist culture in Berryhill's district office in Modesto.
Miller was fired after a Senate human resources investigation into a "heated" office discussion about Colin Kaepernick and whether he was a good role model, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Kaepernick is the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who gained notoriety for sitting and kneeling during the national anthem. Berryhill was not named as a defendant in the Miller case.
In Belmontes' case, the Senate transferred her to the office of the Senate Republican Caucus and reinstated more than half a year of vacation and sick time she used between March and November 2014.
She also was paid $25,000 in compensation, $12,500 in attorney's fees, $465 to cover a medical bill and more than $6,500 to account for the wage difference between the two jobs.
The non-disparagement clause bars Belmontes from making "any false, disparaging or derogatory statements ... regarding the Senate or any of its members, directors, officers, agents or representatives or about the Senate's business affairs, human resources matters, or financial condition."
In the seven settlements reviewed by AP, Belmontes is the only person who maintained employment with the Legislature. She did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Belmontes was one of two Senate human resources department employees who settled claims in the last five years. The other was Dina Hidalgo, who ran the department.
Her case was chronicled by the Sacramento Bee when it was settled in 2014 for nearly $100,000. In return for leaving her job amid an investigation into nepotism in her department the Senate agreed to pay her $85,400, mostly to account for unused sick time to pay the law firm that represented her.
Hidalgo's settlement included a clause that she cannot criticize the Senate in matters related to her claim.
The Senate also paid $150,000 to cover legal fees for news organizations that sued in 2015 for access to the calendars of former Democratic Sens. Leland Yee and Ron Calderon after they were indicted for felonies.
Another $3,500 was paid to settle claims with Morgan Hunter, who was described only as a Senate employee. No details on that case have been revealed.
Levinson said taxpayers should be concerned about behavior that requires their money to be spent on settlements.
But she said keeping confidential some details of claims is an important provision meant to encourage people to expose wrongdoing.
"Maybe there's a perfect world in which you can have a little bit more information given to the public, but not so much that it prevents people from wanting to come forward," she said.