Gunster employment law leader Joe Santoro spoke to Law360 recently about what employers can learn from the recent departure of television news anchor Bill O’Reilly from Fox News amid allegations of sexual harassment and a New York Times article revealing the network and its star paid a total of at least $13 million to settle similar complaints by multiple women.

Gunster attorney Joe SantoroSantoro noted that businesses may have difficulty addressing such complaints, especially with a star employee who is powerful or makes a lot of money for the company.

Even so, Santoro says in the article, employers must enforce its rules, without regard for who is being accused.

Not doing so, he adds, may lead to punitive damages in a later legal case if the employer essentially chooses its own financial benefit over a harassment-free work environment.

Read the article: 3 lessons employers can learn from Bill O’Reilly’s ouster (Law360, 4/20/17) – note: subscription required.

A related article in The Christian Science Monitor points out that it’s corporate culture (in addition to policies and training) that helps to create an environment of respect for all employees – and company leaders have the responsibility to set the tone that a company will not tolerate sexual harassment.

Santoro co-chairs Gunster’s labor and employment law practice, and works out of the firm’s West Palm Beach office.


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