The #MeToo movement has undoubtedly impacted the lives of celebrities and athletes or those that work with them, but it also affects business culture in other fields as well. This means that codes of conduct at restaurants and manufacturing facilities have changed (or need to). It can also mean changes for executives who are used to large severance packages when they leave. Severance agreements should now have much more detailed language based on those codes of conduct.
More teeth needed
Whereas companies may now have clear guidelines regarding inappropriate behavior, some executives and key employees are still getting major payouts and pensions because of their employment contracts or severance packages. One need look no further than CBS CEO Les Moonves’s $120 million payout, Fox’s Roger Ailes received $40 million, Fox News host Bill O’Riley received $25 million, and there are others. These payouts make the news, and they do not reflect well on the companies, particularly if they appear to make payments so the problems go away.
Hitting them where it counts
Companies are wise to rewrite standard contracts and even renegotiate current ones with staff to ensure that it is not left paying significant sums of money to employees who leave under dubious or even transgressive circumstances. Businesses need to be clear that there is no golden parachute for lawbreakers, even not famous ones trying to slip out the back door.
Employees and potential hires may not like interview questions surrounding topics involving inappropriate behavior, particularly if the ground rules for dismissal are in their eyes based on hearsay or innuendo rather than proof. However, businesses need to understand that these initiatives protect the reputation of the business, avoids lawsuits by other employees and keeps money away from wrongdoers.
An experienced attorney can review all business’s employment documents to ensure that massive severance packages and payouts do not go to people who do not deserve them.