When credible allegations of sexual harassment or other misconduct are made against a top executive, companies need to take them seriously. If someone files a lawsuit, one thing the courts will consider is whether the company made a reasonable effort to investigate and correct the problem. If it did not, the company could be found liable and be forced to pay damages. It could also be a PR nightmare.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's fiscal year 2018 closed just a few days before the anniversary of the first stories about media mogul Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct. Outrage against Weinstein and others in Hollywood began a national reckoning in which powerful men in media, politics, journalism and other fields have been publicly accused of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct.
During much of CEO Les Moonves' tenure at CBS Corp., CBS has been America's most popular broadcast network. Hits like "The Big Bang Theory" and "NCIS" helped make Moonves one of the industry's highest-paid and most powerful executives. He has now resigned from the network after a new round of allegations were brought against him by six women who worked with him in the past.
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and subsequent explosion of media coverage on sexual harassment in various workplaces, Maryland's legislature has chosen to respond with new legislation. Effective October 1, 2018, the state's new sexual harassment law precludes employers from limiting any procedural or substantive rights of employees to file claims for sexual harassment or retaliation for reporting harassment in the workplace.