The former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman of CBS, Les Moonves, may not be receiving his $120 million severance payment that was part of his employment contract.
In August 2018, The New Yorker magazine reported that six different women had accused him of sexual harassment. Weeks later, that number doubled; a total of 12 women were now making this claim. Once this information was released, many others started speaking out, stating that CBS tolerated this type of behavior. Moonves resigned from the company back in September amidst these sexual misconduct accusations.
The CBS Statement
An early December New York Times article described a draft of a report which found that Moonves lied to the investigators and also destroyed evidence. The CBS Board of Directors then hired lawyers to examine the claims, as well as CBS’ workplace environment.
After several meetings, they arrived at their decision. On December 17, the board stated that Moonves would not be paid his severance, based on violation of company policies, breach of contract, and grounds for termination for cause. They said that they completed their own investigation, and concluded that sexual harassment was not a major issue for their employees.
However, they added that past incidents of unprofessional conduct, harassment, and retaliation could have been handled in better ways. The board’s statement also said that Moonves did not cooperate fully with an investigation into his behaviors.
Ticking Time Bomb
When one of Moonves’ accusers told her story last November, matters accelerated. According to her, she met him in 1995 for a possible acting job, and he attempted to sexually assault her. She managed to get away, but did not report the incident. When allegations of abuse from new accusers surfaced in 2017, she decided to speak out. It was discovered via text messages that Moonves and her talent agent attempted to silence her, and cover up the 1995 encounter. This is the basis for the termination for cause.
Les Moonves came to the CBS network in 1995, and recent data shows that his salary was $69 million a year, making him one of the highest paid executives in the world. Through his lawyer, he has strongly denied the accusations, and said that he did cooperate with the investigations.
Moonves felt that the decision was baseless and predetermined by the board members. His lawyer added that certain individuals may have leaked the information to the press, which damaged his client’s reputation and career.
It is possible that Moonves will take CBS to court over their decision to deny his severance.
Middletown Sexual Harassment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Help Those Who Been Sexually Harassed
Sexual harassment and abuse of any kind should never be tolerated, whether it is at home or in a workplace. If you or someone you care for has experienced any form of sexual harassment, we will help you fight for your rights. Contact an experienced Middletown sexual harassment lawyer at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C.
Call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Newark office at 973-878-9040, or contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation. We represent clients throughout New Jersey.