Fox News has reached a $1 million settlement over sexual harassment allegations at the studios of Fox Corp cable channel, after several years of investigation, evasion, and negotiation.
The New York City Commission on Human Rights, which manages both enforcement and education regarding human rights issues, first brought complaint against Fox News in 2018. They had already conducted their own official investigation at the time and issued several requirements to the company. The requirements included revising their policies around sexual harassment and discrimination, conducting regular scheduled training regarding the same, and maintaining a hotline for anonymous reports. This last was due to numerous complaints of staffers reporting harassment to HR only to be intimidated into withdrawing those reports.
“The Commission takes all allegations of sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination, and retaliation very seriously and our settlement today demonstrates that in New York City no one is above the law,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights. “Every New Yorker, whether in a newsroom or lunchroom, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect in their workplace.”
The Commission also required that Fox News halt putting mandatory arbitration clauses into contracts with their on-air talent, clauses which coerce employees into handling serious, potentially criminal matters in private on the company’s terms instead of through legal channels, with severe fees if they break the clause as duress.
A year after the complaint, despite progress, Fox News had not come into compliance, and the Commission issued fines in 2019. On June 29 2021, it was reported that Fox News had agreed to a $1 million settlement over four violations.
“We are pleased to reach an amicable resolution of this legacy matter,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider. “FOX News Media has already been in full compliance across the board, but cooperated with the New York City Commission on Human Rights to continue enacting extensive preventive measures against all forms of discrimination and harassment.”
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