Fox News to Pay $1 Million for 'Pattern' of NYC Human Rights Violations

Fox News has agreed to pay a $1 million fine to the New York City Commission on Human Rights for allegedly "committing a pattern" of violations that includes sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation against victimized employees.

In a statement given to Newsweek Tuesday, a Fox News representative acknowledged the settlement by saying, "We are pleased to reach an amicable resolution of this legacy matter."

"FOX News Media has already been in full compliance across the board, but cooperated with the New York City Commission on Human Rights to continue enacting extensive preventive measures against all forms of discrimination and harassment," the statement added.

According to a Tuesday report by The Daily Beast, the settlement agreement was reached last week with the city commission following years of allegations concerning a toxic work environment at the channel.

The million-dollar civil penalty includes four violation fines of $250,000, which the commission said was a "figure reserved for willful and wanton violations of the law," following a "pattern and practice of violations took place at Fox," The Daily Beast reported.

According to the news outlet, the settlement is the largest in the history of the commission's six-decade existence.

The commission first began its investigation of Fox News in July 2016 after its founder and chairman, Roger Ailes, was accused of several accounts of sexual misconduct, the report stated. Two years later, the commission filed its formal complaint against Fox News in December 2018.

Fox News protest
Fox News has agreed to pay a $1 million settlement to the New York City's Commission on Human Rights for allegedly committing a "pattern" of violations including sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation against victimized employees. Here, protesters rally outside the Fox News headquarters at the News Corporation building, March 13, 2019 in New York City. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The newly reached settlement agreement will now require Fox News to make "immediate changes to policies surrounding reporting sexual harassment, retaliation, training, and compliance with the NYC Human Rights Law," The Daily Beast reported.

Additionally, the channel will be forced to remove mandatory confidential arbitration clauses from employee contracts for a four-year period when they file claims with the city commission.

The channel has also agreed to provide all employees with a clear definition of "retaliation" and training for bystanders to intervene in misconduct incidents and to properly report any future violations.

Attorney Nancy Erika Smith, who represented former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson in a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against Ailes, told The Daily Beast that the new settlement agreement was "monumental."

"I'm not aware of any government agency requiring an employer to stop silencing victims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, and that's what NDAs and arbitration do--they silence victims," Smith told the news outlet. "So bravo! Finally! The government is seeing that silencing victims protects harassers."

Newsweek contacted the New York City Commission on Human Rights for additional comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.