From: Washington Post
Why Fox’s apology to Gretchen Carlson is so stunning
By Jena McGregor September 6
The settlement 21st Century Fox announced Tuesday regarding former anchor Gretchen Carlson, who filed a lawsuit this summer claiming sexual harassment by the powerful — and now ousted — Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, was extraordinary in many ways. There was the speed with which the suit went from being filed, on July 6, to being settled, just two months later. There was the reported size of the settlement, $20 million, which employment lawyers say is the largest single plaintiff pre-trial settlement for sexual harassment charges they know of (many are settled privately).
But perhaps the most striking aspect of the settlement was the company’s public apology to Carlson in its statement, a move employment lawyers said was extremely rare, if not unprecedented, when it comes to sexual harassment claims.
“Typically the last thing a plaintiff ever receives in a pre-trial settlement is an apology,” said Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer who often represents plaintiffs in sexual harassment lawsuits. “It clearly is a recognition that she was right that she was treated inappropriately, and that in and of itself is quite stunning.”
Most companies don’t make such a statement of regret because it could expose them to some risk. …
While $20 million may be larger than other settlements for similar claims, it’s also, interestingly, exactly half the size of the exit package Ailes was reportedly paid. After Ailes stepped down as the chairman and CEO of Fox News in July, just two weeks after Carlson’s lawsuit was filed, reports said he would receive more than $40 million and remain an adviser to Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox.