An out-of-court settlement has been reached in the $4 million sexual harassment and discrimination suit against Washington talk show host John J. McLaughlin. Lawyers for McLaughlin and plaintiff Linda D. Dean confirmed the agreement yesterday, but would not comment on the nature of the settlement. Dean, 36, a former executive assistant at McLaughlin's Oliver Productions, brought the suit last August, alleging that McLaughlin fired her in "retaliation for her protests of sex discrimination and sexual harassment toward herself and other women who worked in the office." "The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of the parties," said Bruce A. Frederickson, Dean's attorney. "The terms of the resolution are confidential and the suit is no longer pending." "I can't say diddly squat, which for me is living hell," said John Clifford, attorney for McLaughlin's Oliver Productions, a codefendant in the suit. McLaughlin, 60, a former Jesuit priest, is host of "The McLaughlin Group," a political talk show that airs weekly on 230 public television stations and four stations on the NBC network. He is also the host of "One on One," a weekly interview program. Neither he nor Dean could be reached for comment. In her suit, Dean alleged that McLaughlin made advances to her "on several occasions," touching her "intimately and against her will and in the face of her open attempts to avoid and evade his touches." The suit described McLaughlin's office as "a work environment which was hostile to women" and charged McLaughlin with "sexually degrading and offensive remarks and behavior ... toward past and present female employees." A number of women who worked in McLaughlin's office gave depositions in the case, which had been scheduled to come to trial this fall but was postponed. The depositions were sealed. The suit also alleged that an unnamed female receptionist quit her job with McLaughlin and told her employment agency that McLaughlin sexually harassed and abused her. Dean claimed that she met with McLaughlin to discuss his treatment of the receptionist and other women in the office and that McLaughlin "responded angrily." The suit alleged that McLaughlin asked Dean to resign on April 14, 1988, and, when she declined, he fired her the following day. When the suit was filed, Fred Fielding, McLaughlin's attorney, issued the following statement: "John McLaughlin and Oliver Productions emphatically deny these bizarre and outrageous allegations and will seek swift disposition of this matter through the judicial system. We will have no further public comment on these allegations or on the possible motivations of the plaintiff until that time."