Following CEO scandal, CBS pledges $20M to fight sexual harassment
- CBS Corporation announced $20 million in grants for organizations dedicated to maintaining safe and fair work environments and eliminating sexual misconduct in the workplace. The news and entertainment conglomerate has retained RALLY, an issue-driven advisory and communications firm, as a consultant on the disbursement of the funds. Recipients will be announced by Dec. 14.
- CBS had previously announced that it would make contributions to one or more charitable entities that support equality and safety for women in the workplace as part of a separation agreement with former CEO, Les Moonves, who faces sexual harassment allegations.
- Joe Ianniello, CBS president and acting CEO, said in a statement: "While we continue to focus on strengthening our own Company's culture, it's also important that we support the organizations that are helping to ensure safety and equity in our industry, as well as providing both prevention and assistance for victims of sexual assault, abuse and harassment in all workplaces."
This month marks about a year since the #MeToo movement took hold, prompting reflection and action throughout the business world. The move from CBS seems to be a step toward recovering the brand from the high-profile allegations.
In May, an American Physiological Association survey revealed that only a third of employees said their employers altered efforts to eliminate sexual harassment in light of #MeToo. Employee claims, however, appear to be on the rise. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently revealed that it has seen sexual harassment suits jump more than 50% in 2018 compared to 2017.
Organizations that acknowledge possible misconduct and move quickly to resolve the problem and restore their brand may be better positioned to handle a crisis or controversy. Certainly, job candidates won't ignore a tarnished brand; only one in five will apply to a company with a low online rating, according to a CareerArc study.
A company's ability to differentiate itself as an employer of choice is crucial in a tight labor market, making a strong brand — and swift damage control when needed — important tools in the war for talent.