Fox News has agreed to pay a $1 million fine to New York City following a sexual harassment probe at the company.
The report by the city’s Commission on Human Rights cited allegations of a hostile work environment, misconduct and sexual harassment at the network.
According to a news release, the settlement “aims to create long-term change with respect to how Fox News addresses allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation” and contains the largest civil penalty every ordered in the commission’s six-decade history for what the group called “a pattern of violating the NYC Humans Rights Law.”
The settlement requires that Fox News remove mandatory confidential arbitration clauses from the contracts of on-air talent and other employees for a four-year period when they file the claims under New York’s commission, facilitating an easier, less secretive way to bring claims of gender-based harassment to the attention of the network or legal venues.
Additionally, the news network is required to hold “regular, Commission-approved sexual harassment prevision and bystander training” for all their New York City executives and employees and for a period of at least two years, Fox News must also implement a policy and complaint procedure for multiple levels of discrimination and harassment complaint reporting.
Lastly, the network is going to distribute a “Commission-approved definition of retaliation” to all the employees and work to hold bystander intervention trainings to teach workers how to “interrupt, defuse, and report harassment as it happens” and create a safer work environment.
“Today’s settlement reflects structural changes within Fox News that will make it easier for employees to report harassment without fear of retaliation or reprisal,” said Sapna V. Raj, Deputy Commissioner of the Law Enforcement Bureau at the NYC Commission on Human Rights in the news release. “The message we are sending is simple: there is no room for discrimination in New York City, and the Commission will enforce the law to the highest possible extent for violators who think otherwise.”
The Commission will also monitor Fox News on a quarterly basis for two years to ensure its compliance to the requirements.
“We are pleased to reach an amicable resolution of this legacy matter. 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,” said Fox News Media in a statement to TheWrap.