December 12, 2016
Why Even Megyn Kelly Didn't Report Sexual Harassment
Frustrated managers and executives frequently lament that employees don't complain about sexual harassment until years after the fact. If there is a lag time, that makes many skeptical about whether the harassment actually occurred. 
Many have wondered why Megyn Kelly, the powerful and popular Fox News anchor, waited until Gretchen Carlson filed suit against Fox and Roger Ailes before raising her own issues. Yet as Kelly writes in her book Settle For More, before you ask the question about WHY women don't report, you have to ask whether your organization has a safe system for reporting. Learn more about Kelly's experience with harassment at Fox News at: and 
In Kelly's case, she actually did report Ailes harassment to her supervisor who informed her that Ailes was a good person and she should just avoid him. She took that advice - while also consulting an attorney, just in case - and it worked. One might ponder, however, how avoiding the CEO is good for career advancement and whether men would ever receive the same career advice.
When asked why Kelly didn't just leave Fox, she cited the difficulty of finding a comparable job in the tough field of TV news, yet millions of women can relate.  Many put up with harassment because they can't find another job, they are single moms, need health insurance and so on.
In my experience, there are a number of reasons women don't report sexual harassment, but the most common reasons are they don't think they will be believed, they are afraid of retaliation and they don't want to get the harasser into trouble.
What Should You Do?  
  • Make sure you create a "complaint friendly" environment. While most managers think they have enough complaints, you don't want the first news of the complaint to be the subpoena that lands on your desk. Surprisingly, you want complaints.
  • Make training about retaliation and confidentiality a priority. Make sure managers know how to handle complaints appropriately, monitor the workplace for retaliation and make sure complainants feel safe coming forward.
  • Investigate all complaints, even if the harassment happened years ago. The harasser may still be there or there may be a cultural reason the complainant didn't come forward earlier. Either way, you need to know.

Did You Know?

All of our training on harassment and discrimination includes tips on creating a complaint friendly environment, protecting confidentiality and preventing retaliation. For more information, call or write us at: 303-216-1020 or [email protected]

Be sure to read Lynne's helpful books about handling tough conversations 
with employees and sexual harassment.

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