The media and financial worlds saw the grueling impact of poor workplace culture this week as media giant Fox News has finally agreed to pay $1 million in penalties after a workplace culture investigation concluded following allegations of sexual misconduct within the network. The allegations ended in the departure of Fox’s co-founded Roger Ailes, and anchor, Billy O’Reilly. The chairperson and commission for the New York City Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis, stated in an interview on Tuesday, “This is the largest civil penalty that has ever been levied by the City Commission on Human Rights. We need to send a message in order to deter future acts of harassment or retaliation.”
Part of the success of the settlement is the clause that prevents Fox News from requiring confidential arbitration in cases where an employee files a complaint under the Human Rights Law. This action prevents Fox News from privately hashing out the legalities of such complaints behind closed doors with little to no public accountability, giving the corporate culture little to no reason for change. Corporations, especially highly visible ones like those resembling Fox News, must have the oversight in place to ensure problems like sexual harassment allegations do not have the consequential chance to gut the company from within. With an appropriate structure in place, a workplace culture investigation can draw problems like employee misconduct out into the open as if drawing poison from a wound.
Stories like the one about Fox and their workplace culture investigation are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, seeking a workplace culture investigation in order to excise malignant sources of disruption from your company’s daily operations is an investment in the longevity of the company. Employers who are vigilant about their workplace culture can expect to see an increase in productivity as employees become more engaged in their jobs as the result of healthy corporate culture. However, it’s headlines like the ones associated with the Fox settlement that also have employers recoiling at the idea of a workplace culture investigation. After all, the investigation could very easily turn up problems that will continue to cost the company time and money in correcting. Employers may be expected to pay out large sums in court as the result of any subsequent legal action, and the bad press associated with workplace culture investigations are undesirable in the corporate world. However, the longer corporations and employers ignore the issues surrounding workplace culture, the more devastating they can expect the impact will be once the problem is forced into the open through circumstances such as whistle-blowing, criminal investigations, or involvement from another state or federal entity. In the case of Fox, the fallout from sexual harassment allegations should have come as no surprise to internal staff who have fielded these allegations over and over again. In any case however, the hope that the publicity of a workplace culture investigation will once and for all force the company to overhaul their culture and improve the lives of their employees and the longevity of their company.
If you have need of a workplace culture investigation, consider Lauth Investigations International for your needs. We are staffed by former military and law enforcement personnel with diverse experience in workplace culture investigations. We carry a glowing A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and regularly receive grateful reviews from out clients. Call 317-951-1100 for a free consultation or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com