The floodgates have opened on sexual harassment claims against immensely powerful men. But high-profile dismissals, including the firing of NBC host Matt Lauer and media mogul Harvey Weinstein, remain the exception, not the rule, for companies facing harassment issues.
For many firms, paying fines for sexual harassment has been treated as a cost of doing business. In the past seven years alone, U.S. companies have paid out more than $295 million in public penalties over sexual harassment claims, according to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission records.
And that sum does not count all the private settlements that typically are granted in exchange for alleged victims signing non-disclosure agreements.
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Even those who were hit publicly with varying types of harassment charges managed to carry on with their careers in the aftermath. The highest-profile example is President Trump. But there are many others. For instance:
In 2007, when he was president of basketball operations for the Madison Square Garden-owned Knicks, former NBA star Isiah Thomas was found by a jury to have aided and abetted a hostile work environment after being accused of sexual harassment. Thomas now is president of the New York Liberty WNBA team, which also is owned by Madison Square Garden, and a commentator for NBA TV.
In 2010, hard-charging Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd was forced to resign after HP's board investigated his interactions with a female contractor and found inconsistencies in his expense reports. The investigation arose after that contractor claimed she was sexually harassed. One month after his resignation, Hurd landed a job at Oracle, where he is now CEO.
Senior executives at firms including Starwood Hotels, American Apparel and Baker & McKenzie have all weathered sexual harassment allegations and moved on to other high-powered positions.
As recently as last January, Fox News re-upped host Bill O'Reilly to a $25 million-a-year contract, according to the New York Times, even though O'Reilly or parent 21st Century Fox had settled multiple cases over misconduct with women, including one he settled for $32 million. Fox later said it was aware of harassment allegations against him and said O'Reilly, who was subsequently forced out, assured it he had "settled the matter personally."
O'Reilly has denied allegations of sexual misconduct and said he settled to protect his children. Hurd denied harassment charges and noted HP never found any evidence of it. Thomas has also denied the harassment allegations made against him.