Megyn Kelly supports "a safe off-ramp" for reporting harassment complaints
One of America’s most respected television journalists, Megyn Kelly, opened up to CNN’s Anderson Cooper recently about her past struggle with sexual harassment at Fox News. Ms. Kelly described Roger Ailes, the former Chief Executive Officer of Fox News and the executive who allegedly harassed her, as a “king of sorts.” Mr. Ailes resigned from Fox News in July in the wake of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by Gretchen Carlson, another female broadcaster. Ms. Kelly stated that employees often do not feel comfortable reporting sexual harassment to their company’s legal team or human resources department because of the control senior management has over them. Notably, Ms. Kelly recommends that CEOs reevaluate their sexual harassment policies and give employees “a safe off-ramp” for reporting misconduct that is not affiliated with their employer.
We at Workplace FactFinders wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Kelly. In our experience, employees are more inclined to open up to independent, third-party consultants than to internal personnel whom they perceive cannot be objective. Outsourcing the complaint collection and investigation process could also be a win for employers. From a cultural standpoint, it shows employees that the employer does not value loyalty to a company leader over the rights and well-being of its employees. Legally, an employer that is sued for sexual harassment may be able to strengthen its defense by showing it conducted a timely and unbiased investigation through its use of a third party. Ms. Kelly has been quoted as saying, “sunlight is the best disinfectant,” a rebuttal to criticism she received from publicly disclosing her sexual harassment allegations. An audit of sexual harassment policies and the use of external investigators can help inoculate a company from the effects of harassing conduct.
A link to an excerpt of Ms. Kelly’s CNN interview is provided here. For more information about auditing your company’s employment policies and/or outsourcing your internal investigations, please contact Workplace FactFinders at (844) 321-9733 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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