Time’s Up, the anti-sexual harassment group pushing for workplace equality and safety, is urging CBS’s board to take further steps after ousting CEO Les Moonves.
In an open letter to vice chairman Shari Redstone and the rest of the CBS board first published Tuesday on CBS News’ website, the group urges the network to implement measures that “can create a model for not only the media and entertainment industry, but companies in general.”
It also suggests that the $120 million that the board has set aside as a possible exit payment for Moonves, be contributed instead to organizations that address sexual harassment and workplace safety. CBS and Moonves have already pledged to donate $20 million to #MeToo causes and Moonves will receive none of the $120 million if the board’s investigation concludes he should be dismissed for cause.
“That is $120 million dollars that will either go to Mr. Moonves or back into the coffers of the company that allowed the culture created by Mr. Moonves to continue. Or that $120 million can create change by going to organizations – and there are many impactful organizations – that can help women of all kinds. The choice is yours. But the answer is obvious. We ask that you not dishonor the bravery of those who have come forward by spending that money unwisely,” the letter said.
The letter refers to CBS This Morning’ anchor Norah O’Donnell’s on air statement that “women will never achieve true equality in the workplace and in society until there is a reckoning and an acceptance of responsibility by those in charge.”
These are the measures Time’s Up is asking CBS’s reconstituted board to commit to:
- A full, independent investigation of any allegations of sexual harassment, regardless of whether the subject of the investigation resigns or departs. Those who come forward must also be protected from potential retaliation.
- Establishing a workplace culture that represents the values of safety, equity and dignity, with this tone set from the top of the company. The board should establish regular (not just special committee) oversight of workplace culture as a matter of corporate governance, and senior management should be held accountable with specific and measurable benchmarks.
- Establishing a hiring, promotion and retention policy that will create an inclusive workforce at all levels, and set and measure goals for achieving a workplace reflective of the American population. This includes aggressive recruitment for truly diverse management talent, as well as the pipeline for entry-level positions. As listed on the company’s website, the nine current most senior members of the CBS Corporation Executive management team and the heads of each of CBS’s Divisions are all men.
- Providing training at all levels of the company, including the board, on the company’s values, diversity and inclusion, and management skills, and commit to providing this training on a regular basis.
- Undertaking a pay equity study, and commit to closing any racial, ethnic or gender gaps.