David Letterman has admitted to having affairs with several of his female staffers. This has some of us wondering- what should CBS do? What are these women’s rights and remedies if these relationships weren’t welcomed or if they felt pressured into it by their boss?
Sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination under federal law. Employers have an obligation to take reasonable care to promptly prevent and correct any sexually harassing behavior- that is, prompt remedial action. If they don’t, harassed employees could bring suit against them and win.
What CBS has to do is dependent upon whether the women in question were subject to unwelcome advances and whether CBS knew or should have known. The law requires prompt remedial action which can include employee training (imagine that), transfer of the harassing employee, written warnings, reprimands, and even termination (although we at the Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore are bettingagainst termination!) In any event, CBS had better conduct an investigation to see whether they are exposed to liability or whether they need to take remedial action to prevent future issues.