REUTERS

Civil Rights Investigation Launched into Weinstein Company

Harvey Weinstein has now led to a civil rights investigation into the Weinstein Company, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Monday.


“No New Yorker should be forced to walk into a workplace ruled by sexual intimidation, harassment, or fear,” New York’s top prosecutor said in a statement. “If sexual harassment or discrimination is pervasive at a company, we want to know.”

The Civil Rights Bureau of the attorney general’s office will determine whether people at the Weinstein Company violated state civil rights laws or New York City human rights laws.

A person familiar with the subpoena, speaking to The New York Times under the condition of anonymity, reported that Schneiderman’s office requested a variety of evidence including “personnel files; criteria for hiring, promoting and firing; formal and informal complaints of sexual harassment or other discrimination based on gender or age; and records showing how such complaints were handled,” as well as “any documents and communications related to private out-of-court settlements struck with accusers.”

According to a document on the attorney general’s website regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, “The Civil Rights Bureau determines whether your experiences are evidence of a pattern, practice or policy of sexual harassment affecting a significant number of people.”

More than three dozen women have come forward since The Times published an article earlier this month alleging decades of sexual harassment claims against Weinstein. The allegations have gotten more disturbing in nature, with at least three women claiming the powerful movie mogul raped them, according to the New Yorker.

Weinstein and his brother Bob founded the Weinstein Company, which is headquartered in New York City. The company’s board of directors fired Weinstein from his position as co-chairman amid the mounting allegations against him. Bob Weinstein still sits on the board, which claimed to have no knowledge of any alleged sexual misconduct.

Calling the accusations “an utter surprise,” the board said in a statement, “Any suggestion that the Board had knowledge of this conduct is false.”

But that claim has been disputed by individuals and records that indicate the company has been involved with settlements with women since at least 2015. Attorney David Boies, who has represented Weinstein as well as the company, told The Times about at least four payouts women received. One board member confirmed knowledge of settlements but said he believed the hush money was to cover up mutual affairs.

The Times’ original reporting claims that at least eight legal settlements have been reached in response to allegations by former employees of The Weinstein Company and Miramax, which the Weinstein brothers founded in 1973. (Harvey and Bob Weinstein left Miramax in 2005 to found the Weinstein Company.)

The majority of the Weinstein Company’s board members have resigned in recent days, leaving only Bob Weinstein and two others.

Weinstein has not yet been charged with any crime. But police in New York, Los Angeles and London have all launched criminal investigations into Weinstein.

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

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