April 24, 2017
What You Can Learn From Fox's $85 Million Dollar Lesson
According to numerous reports, http://www.newsweek.com/fox-news-payouts-rise-85-million-over-sexual-harassment-claims-587361 Fox will pay more than $85 million to get out of its latest sexual harassment mess. That includes the more than $13 million it paid out to Bill O'Reilly's alleged victims, as well as buying out the rest of his contract. While that may be chump change to a network that's part of the Murdoch media empire, and where O'Reilly's show alone - according to reports - made more than $446 million over the years 2014-2016, for most organizations those numbers are significant.

"...make sure that you have a 'complaint friendly' environment."
That, of course, doesn't begin to count the loss of internal productivity, employee turnover, damage to the brand (if any), attorney's fees and so on.
What's the number one lesson from this drama: encourage complaints. While most leaders would say that they receive enough complaints, you don't want the first notice of a harassment complaint to be the subpoena that lands on your desk, or the article in The New York Times.

What Should You Do?  
Ideally, you want to make sure that you have a 'complaint friendly' environment. While publicizing the fact that you have a hotline and other avenues for complaints - such as employees' immediate supervisors and HR - you also need to make sure that people understand confidentiality and retaliation. People will not come forward to use whatever avenue you've identified (and more ways to complain are better), unless they know that their complaint will be kept confidential and that retaliation claims will be taking seriously. If certain people in the organization - such as O'Reilly and Roger Ailes at Fox - are viewed as untouchable, people won't complain. Employees need to see visible signs that harassment policies have teeth and will be enforced. Of course, termination of the harasser is always the most tangible sign of action but that may not be the only way, nor may it be appropriate for certain transgressions.

Did You Know

All our harassment and discrimination classes include policy reviews and assessments of your culture in order to determine if your procedures are effective.  

For more information, call or write us at: 303-216-1020 or [email protected]

Be sure to read Lynne's book on sexual harassment.


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