Minnesota native and ex-Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit six months ago, alleging that she was sexually harassed by Roger Ailes, who was network chief at the time. Alies was subsequently let go from his job, but not before trying to force the case into arbitration, which would have kept witnesses, including other women reportedly harassed by Alies, from testifying. The case was ultimately resolved in September, to the tune of a $20 million settlement.
Now Carlson plans this spring to testify before Congress, with regard to how forced employment arbitration can keep victims of sexual harassment in the workplace from speaking out. Arbitration clauses were first made popular as a means of relieving overburdened courts.
Unfortunately, this meant that the most serious accusations, such as those involving sexual harassment and racial discrimination, never saw the light of a courtroom, and were hushed up through forced arbitration. Carlson believes that arbitration clauses cause victims to relinquish their constitutional right to a trial before a jury. In fact, becuase arbitration is completely confidential, Carlson states that the public doesn’t hear of it, making it seem like sexual harassment in the workplace is no longer the issue it once was.
Hopefully Carlson’s testimony will shed light on what is still a problem — sexual harassment in the workplace. It is difficult, but victims of harassment should not fear speaking out. They have a right to a safe, non-hostile work environment. If this environment is compromised in some way due to sexual harassment or discrimination, they may want to determine what course of action to take, including speaking to an attorney if necessary.
Source: Forbes, “Fox News Whistleblower Gretchen Carlson Plans Her Next Move,” Clare O’Connor, Jan. 11, 2017