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Bill O’Reilly ouster a lesson in what not to do, says Anita Hill

The day after Bill O’Reilly was pushed out of Fox News amid allegations that he sexually harassed several colleagues, two women who rose to national prominence for standing up to powerful men called for reform — and transparency — in how institutions handle issues of sexual assault, harassment and discrimination. More than two decades passed between when Anita Hill sat before a congressional committee and described harassment she said she endured while working with now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and when Ellen Pao, a venture capitalist and diversity advocate, sued her former employer, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, alleging gender discrimination. In 1991, Thomas, who denied the allegations and compared the hearings against him to a “lynching” was confirmed to the Supreme Court, despite Hill’s testimony. Both said that once they spoke out, once their stories had been circulated in the media, they heard from countless other women from across the country who said they, too, had experienced discrimination, harassment or worse. Hill, now a professor at Brandeis University, said the O’Reilly incident should be used as a case study in teaching workplaces, schools, government bodies and other such institutions “what not to do” when investigating claims of discrimination or harassment. “One of the things that happens with investigations is women go in and make a complaint and the investigation is not inclusive because you don’t have a transparent system and you don’t know, maybe, about some other complaints that have been filed against the person,” Hill said. Earlier this month, an internal Fox investigation surfaced that showed O’Reilly had settled with five different women who claimed the television host had harassed them. Nine months earlier, Roger Ailes, the founding chairman of Fox News, was also ousted amid claims that he had sexually harassed several women at the network. [...] before they did that, they signed a contract with him to pay him millions of dollars, and now they’re paying him millions of dollars to exit when, in fact, he should have not been granted the contract because the evidence (of harassment) was clear.

Article by By Marissa Lang (c) Business and Technology News - Read full story here.