Recently, NBC Universal issued a statement that specified that former employees of NBC are now allowed to publicly share their personal experiences about suffering from sexual harassment at the workplace.
The company stated that it plans to free previous staff members from nondisclosure agreements that might have prevented them from speaking up regarding incidents of sexual assault or harassment that they may have been through.
In addition, NBC Universal said that if any ex-employee of NBC News feels that due to their separation agreement’s confidentiality or non-disparagement clause they can’t talk about the sexual abuse they’ve undergone at NBC, they can reach out to NBC Universal and the organization would release them from the supposed obligation.
This statement was initially reported by Maddow on MSNBC’s program, ‘Rachel Maddow Show.‘ She announced the news of the NBC Universal’s statement right before the live interview with journalist Ronan Farrow.
Farrow, while he was still an employee of NBC, had started working on the New Yorker stories based on sexual exploitation allegations against former film producer Harvey Weinstein. However, the company passed up the story, which later won Farrow the 2018 Pulitzer Prize.
Despite the statement released by the network, its effect isn’t quite apparent yet. While the company claimed that the agreement made with the former employees were standard and didn’t intend to stop women from speaking about sexual harassment, Farrow on the other hand claimed that the agreements were thought of as ‘payouts; or ‘settlements’ to prevent accusers from talking about it.
Farrow mentions in his best selling book, ‘Catch and Kill’, that there were at least seven women who had been sexually harassed at the workplace, and who were in a non-disclosure agreement with NBC News to stay quiet about it. Some of these women had made allegations of sexual abuse against Matt Lauer, the former host of ‘Today.’
Even though the company executives stated that this decision was reached as the reporting wasn’t up to journalistic standards, Farrow shares a different perspective in his book. In ‘Catch and Kill’, he mentions that the company was actually afraid that the sexual mistreatment allegations against Lauer would be proved true.
The host of the ‘Today’ show, Matt Lauer was dismissed after the HR department received a complaint against him by a former NBC News producer, accusing him of raping her. Lauer, denying the accusation, stated that the relationship was consensual.
Farrow’s book also claims that women who had accused Lauer before had to maintain their silence due to non-disclosure agreements. But the company’s managers denied such allegations, with President of NBC News, Noah Oppenheim, rejecting any claims of being aware of previous misconductsby Lauer.
However, in his live interview Farrow, he told Maddow that he knew of several women who voiced their agony to him regarding the fact that they were bound by such agreements. He added that ending such agreements is an important step and other organizations should also take inspiration and follow suit.
Do not let your employer take advantage of your position or interfere with your future employment opportunities. Contact our employment law attorney at Eldessouky Law in Long Beach, California today at (714) 923-4350 for sound advice and the representation you need to pursue justice.