Fox News has mounted strong opposition to a number of allegations and even lawsuits regarding on-air content and behind-the-scenes behavior.
This week, however, the cable news leader agreed to pay a $1 million penalty following an investigation by the New York City Commission of Human Rights.
“Dramatic and critical policy changes”
According to The Hill, the commission called this order the highest in its history.
“The settlement aims to create long-term change with respect to how Fox News addresses allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation,” the commission asserted in its statement on the matter.
Not only does the settlement represent “the largest civil penalty in the Commission’s history,” but it has also “mandated dramatic and critical policy changes at Fox News Network,” said Chairperson and Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis.
The press release went on to list a number of corporate policies addressed by the ruling, including “a remarkable shift in how Fox News Network uses mandatory arbitration,” which could be seen as “a model for future policy” among companies seeking to improve in this area.
“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,” Malalis added. “Every New Yorker, whether in a newsroom or lunchroom, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect in their workplace.”
“Pleased to reach an amicable resolution”
For its part, a Fox News spokesperson indicated that the network is “pleased to reach an amicable resolution of this legacy matter.”
While insisting that the company “has already been in full compliance across the board,” the source indicated that Fox News “cooperated with the New York City Commission on Human Rights to continue enacting extensive preventive measures against all forms of discrimination and harassment.”
The latest decision stems from sexual misconduct accusations made against former CEO Roger Ailes in 2016.
Former Fox News personality Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against Ailes and subsequently settled the matter for $20 million.
Given its new agreement with the commission, it appears that the network is more motivated than ever to implement safeguards to stop sexual misconduct in the future, offering a better work environment for all of its employees.