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California-based company addresses sexual harassment

The last year has seen an increase in attention to sexual harassment in society as many industries and protected groups are finally addressing decades-old traditions of women being treated poorly with inappropriate behavior. Stories of sexual misconduct have rocked high-tech innovation, venture capitalism and even the state government in Sacramento.

This scrutiny has also touched the world of news media, where some celebrities have fallen from favor and lost their jobs after accusations from as far back as the 1970s have finally surfaced. Although naming and shaming individuals is a useful way of weeding out guilty people, cultural and social norms of sexual harassment must also change to avoid future misconduct.

A major media company is on the verge of restructuring after multiple accusations have laid a culture of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior into stark relief. Mid-level managers, directors and even the current president of the company have admitted culpability to several incidents of sexualized behavior and misogyny that lawyers say amount to a toxic work environment.

Three allegations of sexual harassment as far back as a decade ago earned secret settlements from the media company, and another person received remuneration after suing for defamation of character.

"Cultural elements from our past, dysfunction and mismanagement were allowed to flourish unchecked," according to the company's co-founders. "That includes a detrimental ‘boy's club' culture that fostered inappropriate behavior that permeated throughout the company."

If a person believes she or he has been the target of sexual harassment, an attorney may help prepare a case against an individual or organization that has been complicit in inappropriate behavior.

Source: NBC Southern California, "Vice Media Apologizes for Workplace That Fostered Sexual Harassment," Dec. 23, 2017

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