Gretchen Carlson on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: 'Change the System So Women Feel Safe'
Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson is continuing her fight against sexual harassment in the workplace after settling her own lawsuit.
“I think this is happening every single day to women in all walks of life and in all different types of corporations,” Carlson told Time in this week’s cover story about women reaching out to her after becoming victims of sexual abuse. “I’ve heard from so many women, from Wall Street to a tiny little town in Alabama. It’s everywhere.”
In July, Carlson accused Ailes of years of sexual harassment and claimed he fired her from Fox News on June 23, nine months after allegedly “ostracizing, marginalizing and shunning” the Real Story anchor after she refused to engage in a sexual relationship with him.
“A lot of people that I’ve heard from [about being unfairly dismissed] find themselves in the middle of either legal action or, more likely, forced arbitration,” she tells Time. “It is a huge problem. Because it’s secret. And it plays into why we think that we’ve come so far in society and we probably really haven’t-because we don’t hear about it.”
Carlson has agreed to testify before Congress after the election about forced arbitration — fine print that permits companies to have new employees sign away their rights to litigation and instead agree to settle all employment disputes via arbitration.
“What we need to do to change the system so that women feel safe,” Carlson said but added that she doesn’t have all the answers. ” ‘I’m certainly not going to sit here today and say, ‘Well, I know how to solve this just because I’ve experienced it.’ ”
“I’ve been for women’s empowerment my entire life. It’s not like it’s just happened in the last couple of months,” she continued. “I’ve been very outspoken about it. For decades. I’d tell my mom something that happened at work, and she’d be like, ‘Well, why do you have to harp on that all the time?’ Then she ended up running a corporation and she called me up and she goes, ‘Oh. Now I get it.’ “