Could NBC Be Held Liable For Not Responding to Sexual Misconduct Claims?

By: JML Law | December 1, 2017.
Could NBC Be Held Liable For Not Responding to Sexual Misconduct Claims?

Sexual harassment revelations in the U.S. show no signs of going away, as new accusations against influential figures across many industries in the country keep rolling in.

On Wednesday, Nov. 29, NBC fired its Today co-host Matt Lauer, one of the most popular anchors on American television. Lauer was terminated after an employee filed a sexual harassment complaint alleging “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”

The revelations from the women were made public on Tuesday, and later in the day, media outlets published more sexual harassment allegations against Lauer from several other women.

The disturbing sex scandal surrounding Lauer also revealed that NBC had been trying to keep the sexual misconduct allegations against the former Today co-host under wraps, as the women allegedly went to NBC’s seniors to report sexual misconduct on the part of Lauer in the past.

But the network “fell on deaf ears given the lucrative advertising surrounding Today,” women allege. It’s undeniable that Today is one of NBC’s most profitable and popular programs that attracts millions of viewers every day, but NBC covering up for Lauer may result in an even bigger scandal within the network, sexual harassment attorneys at JML Law forecast.

More people may be held liable in Lauer’s sex scandal

One of Lauer’s accusers alleges that his sexual advances began while the ex-Today co-anchor was in Russia covering the Winter Olympics in 2014.

Unlike many other networks and production companies, NBC chose to fire Lauer within a few hours after the employee’s allegations were made public. While many other businesses choose to wait until investigations into sexual misconduct claims are over, NBC booted Lauer off almost immediately.

This may mean that the network was aware of Lauer’s inappropriate behavior off-camera. This, in turn, would mean that more people could be held liable in Lauer’s sexual harassment scandal, as laws in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California require employers to prevent sexual misconduct in the workplace and ensure a sexual harassment-free environment for workers.

Under federal and state laws in California, human resources departments are also required to respond to and properly review complaints of inappropriate sexual behaviors on the part of employers or employees in a timely manner.
Lauer reportedly accepted NBC’s decision to terminate his employment and even expressed remorse for his actions.

What may serve as further evidence of NBC’s failure to prevent sexual misconduct in the workplace, Variety reporter Elizabeth Wagmeister recently tweeted out that she had been pursuing “serious sexual harassment allegations against Lauer” for two months before the former Today co-host was fired. Mrs. Wagmeister said the network “was aware” of Lauer’s sexual misconduct.

Lauer is not the first NBC employee to get fired over sex scandals

Lauer is one of the dozens of influential men in the media who have been fired and turned into pariahs as a result of sexual misconduct allegations in the past two months. Earlier in November, NBC News fired one of its senior talent bookers who worked at Today, Matt Zimmerman, after he was accused of “inappropriate conduct.”

Last week, CBS News had to terminate one of its top morning anchors and one of America’s most beloved TV personalities, Charlie Rose.

Rose is being accused of years of sexual harassment and misconduct by several women. The non-stop wave of sexual misconduct scandals has been triggered by a report by the New York Times in early October when it published dozens of sexual, misconduct allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Several other high-profile men in the film industry have been brought down by allegations of sexual misconduct since then. The list includes actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K., filmmaker Brett Ratner, actors Jeffrey Tambor and Ed Westwick, and many others.

Are you a victim of sexual harassment

The Weinstein effect rippled through other industries across America, with thousands of women coming forward to accuse employers and co-workers of sexual misconduct in Los Angeles and other cities across the U.S.

Here at JML Law, our sexual harassment attorneys have noticed a sharp increase in complaints of sexual misconduct. Every day, more and more women are becoming empowered by recent events to speak out about inappropriate behavior, sexual harassment, and assault on the part of their employees and co-workers.

If you have been the victim of sexual harassment or abuse, contact our Los Angeles sexual harassment attorneys immediately to find out more about your legal options. You don’t have to go through this alone. We respect your right to confidentiality.

Call JML Law at 818-610-8800 today or send an email to get a free initial consultation.

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