Harassment And Gender Discrimination In Business

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Executive Summary

Currently, harassment and discrimination are one of the unethical activities happening in most companies in the world. Nowadays, there have been many cases of harassment among female employees in the globe. Some of the common cases of harassment include verbal harassment and sexual harassment in workplaces (McDonald & Charlesworth, 2016). 21st Century Fox has been currently in scandal due to cases of sexual harassment. Also, currently, women employees have been facing verbal harassment, whereby supervisors call them a bitch. In the 21st Century Fox, there have also been cases of discrimination whereby women employees were victims. Supervisors don't consider the rights of women because when they report cases of harassment or discrimination, they largely ignore them. For instance, when the victim in 21st Century Fox reported to the superior, they ignored her, and they just assigned another supervisor who failed to meet her.

Additionally, many female employees have been complaining that they are not working in a safe environment because their bosses are not respecting them (Salman, Abdullah, & Saleem, 2016). Regrettably, leadership in Fox company is not operating ethically because they granted Mr. O’Reilly extension of the four-year contract even after facing an allegation of sexual harassment. Besides, there are other supervisors in this company who faced an allegation of harassing women.


Gender discrimination can be referred to as a situation where a person is treated unfairly or less due to his or her gender. Sexual harassment can be defined as circumstances where superior person demands to have a sexual affair with a woman by force. Sometimes sexual harassment may occur due to favor a woman requires from the boss. In most companies, women are victims of sexual harassment, verbal harassment, and gender discrimination as compared to men. When these evils enter an organization results in less productive staff and damage the reputation of the company. Morals of the company become low, and the client’s loyalty to the company declines (Quick & McFadyen, 2017). These kinds of discrimination and harassment affect mental functioning of employees and finally affecting the whole company. Some harassment looks very shameful, and many victims find it difficult to report to the relevant authorities. Subsequently, most victims prefer to resign from work, leaving companies operating abnormally (Lin et al., 2017). When employees leave the job, the company gets a burden of hiring and training others, something which is very difficult, and possibly the company may collapse. Therefore, this paper is tailored to analyze a case study concerning harassment and discrimination in the 21st Fox Company.

Considering that many people have been facing harassment and discrimination, the analysis of harassment in 21st Century Fox will show a clear picture of what victims encountering in other organizations. In this context, the issue of harassment and discrimination is important to be addressed because it will ensure right measures will be taken in companies where supervisors have no values and end up harassing employees under them especially women. Also, the impact of sexual harassment in 21st Century Fox sends a warning to leaders to people who are working without strict policies to protect the reputation of the company.

History of 21st Century Fox Company

21st Century Fox was a multimedia company operating its business in the city of New York, United States. The company formed from Spin-off of 2013 to publish corporation news assets. 21st Century Fox succeeded News Corporation dealing with television industries and film. 21st Century Fox ranked as fourth largest media before 2019 when “The Walt Disney Company” acquired it. The company succeeded Fox company is a broadcasting company that mostly relied on providing news outside the United States. However, 21st CenturyFoxreliedon the international market for providing entertainment to various people in the globe. Assets of this company included Fox television network, Fox entertainment group, among other assets. Assets of 21st company were sold when shareholders agreed to accept $71.3 billion US dollars from Disney company. By March 2019, Fox Corporation took the reminder of assets which included sports news and operations, television stations, Fox's national broadcasting and my Network TV networks. Fox Corporation has begun trading largely in march 2019. (Kauffman & O’Connor, 2018)

Discussion of the case study

Recently, sexual harassment dominated global news, whereby some of the high profile employees in the 21st company were accused. Allegations were well documented whereby they were challenged in the court of law. However, these evils of sexual harassment in this company involved many people, even those who are not seen on the screen. The main character who involved in the scandal was Mr. O' Reilly, who said was said to harass Lis Wiehl. The job of Wiehl was to analyze news from the Fox company. Additionally, she used to appear on a show of Mr. O’ Reilly for more than fifteen years. (Steel, Nov 20, 2017)

Bill O’Reilly accused of harassing Lis Wiehl severally whereby he forced her to be in a sexual relationship. In addition to forcing her in a sexual relationship, O'Reilly was sending pornographic and other materials which were sexually explicit. Besides, her job was unlawfully terminated only because she was a woman. Lis explained sexual harassment as one of the worst evil she encountered while she was working in 21st Fox company. (Campbell, Oct 22,2017)

However, she raised complains severally to her superiors, but there was nothing important done. Initially, supervisors responded by telling her to settle the matter with Mr. O'Reilly at a personal level. Such act provoked her, and she decided to follow the legal process to fight for her right as an employee. Later, Mr. O'Reilly settles the matter by paying thirty million US dollars to the Fox analyst, Lis Wiehl. (Campbell, Oct 22,2017)

Gender discrimination in Fox company did end with Fox news analyst but also other women claimed to face harassment from their superiors. The vice president in the department Enterprise Rights Management complained to get harassment from her superiors. She filed a case in the court of law, where she said she was being harassed sexually and also facing gender discrimination. In this context, her job was terminated by superiors only because she was a woman. Also, she complained about comments made against her and were not appropriate to any human being with dignity. However, when raised complains to the leaders in the company, they just ignored her. Consequently, she decided to follow the legal process to get justice. (Steel, Nov 20, 2017)

The scandal of sexual harassment also extends to Roger Ailes, who was CEO and a founder of the network. The woman claimed to be harassed by him, and at that point, the company found itself in a very difficult situation. The management tried to protect the image of the company by firing Roger Ailes. This came into effect when more women who were prominent in the department of network complained to get harassment from the Roger Ailes.

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Moreover, in the process of regaining the good image in the company, the management agreed to pay for all the women who claimed to get harassment in the company. The payment cost the company a huge amount of money because the total money paid was one hundred and forty-five million US dollars. After payment, a council was created in the company to ensure that no employee will face any harassment in the future. The council was also mandated to ensure that rights of women and minorities in the company will be safeguarded. Furthermore, the company tried to ensure that employees will have a safe environment while performing their work in the company. (Fenton, March 5, 2018)

Finally, the company executive made the worst decision when retained Bill O'Reilly in the company. Despite being aware of evils alleged to O'Reilly, the company was comfortable with him after paying money to settle his with News analyst. The act angered advertisers in the company, and they boycotted high rated show of Mr. O'Reilly. After the company realized that prosecutors demanded both materials for both Rogers Ailes and O'Reilly they also fired him. (Fenton, March 5, 2018)


Sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and verbal harassment are major ethical issues that led to the destruction of the company's image in 21st Century Fox. Sexual harassment is seen clearly when various women complained to be harassed by their superiors in the company. The harassment allegation seems to occur due to poor leadership because supervisors failed to take disciplinary action even after women reported complaints. This sexual harassment was caused by poor policies that were in the company and also the failure of the company's executive to consider women's right. For instance, the executive retained Mr. O'Reilly in the company even after finding that he was accused by scandal.

Additionally, there was a poor channel to give out complains because Roger Ailes alleged to have harassed many women meaning that there was not good disciplinary council to caution him. (Olsen, 2018)

Gender discrimination in the company seen when the contract of vice president in the department of Enterprise Right Management was terminated. The reason why the contract terminated was only because of gender. This shows that the company had no council to protect women and the minority in the company. In this context, the right of women in the company seemed ignored because that was realized only when the company's reputation was in threat. Protesting of the advertisers in the company shows clearly that the company was not operating ethically and that why O'Reilly fired after the situation became worse.

Verbal harassment is also a problem in the current world as the women in 21st Century Fox company were harassed verbally. The company's executive accused of making inappropriate comments to women. The current companies have been harassing women verbally, and sometimes they remain silent because many companies tend to ignore women rights. Some of the supervisors call women a bitch, and also they say that woman should act like a man resulting in much pain to women mentally (Jones et al., 2018). Therefore, that is the reason why company’s executive accused by a woman whom bad comments made against her.

Ethical Decision Making Approaches and Theories

This study is based on various ethical approaches. The first approach is the rights approach which explains the rights of victims of harassment and discrimination. The rights approach allows every person to make the decision freely (Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2015). Therefore, a manager should not do anything which has not respects to person’s moral right. In the case of 21st Century Fox, women are denied their freedom of expression because the moment a woman complained due to sexual harassment her contract was terminated.

Secondly, this study was also based on the common good approach whereby it looked for the good of all stakeholders in the company and community. The common good approach helps build individual life and the whole community (Schwartz, 2016). In Fox Company, sexual harassment and gender discrimination were affecting many women in the company whereby they complained to the top management, but it ignored issues raised by victims. Therefore, common good in this study tries to show that if issues are dealt well, they will help rebuild the image of the company. In this context, all stakeholders will benefit from company development.

Finally, fairness and justice approach was also considered in this study. This approach states that all people in the company should be treated the same unless there is a justifiable reason. The approach advocates against gender discrimination at any place and time (Trevino & Nelson, 2016). In the 21st Century Fox company, cases of gender discrimination are seen as common and needed to be addressed. Women are most affected in the company whereby they were harassed by their supervisors who were men. The worst case of gender discrimination occurred when the contract of a woman was terminated only because of gender. Regrettably, after reporting to the company's leadership was largely ignored, making her decision to file a lawsuit.


For 21st Century Fox company, there is a need to formulate good policies which they will protect the rights of all stakeholders against exploitation. In this context, the minority and women should be highly protected since they are vulnerable to gender discrimination and sexual harassment (Triana et al., 2018). The leadership in the 21stCenturyFox company should provide a safe environment whereby women can perform their duties freely without any risk of sexual harassment or gender discrimination. Additionally, there should be a council to oversee the behavior and conduct of all supervisors in the company to ensure the junior staff and women are protected (Pearson, 2017). Finally, there should be employees’ right that can protect them from any exploitation from their superiors to ensure that no one can fire you without a justifiable reason.


Harassment and gender discrimination are current ethical issues affecting many employees in the globe. Women being vulnerable to sexual harassment and gender discrimination, there is a need for any company to consider gender equity so that they can ensure gender equality. For instance, in 21st Century Fox company, all victims who complained about gender discrimination and sexual harassment were women. Considering women have become most productive in the current world, they should be treated the same as the men. Therefore, an employee should be given a job because of what he or she can deliver but not because of gender (Othman & Othman, 2015). In this context, a woman should not be fired so that a man can be given the job.


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