Compliance into the Weeds is the only weekly podcast which takes a deep dive into a compliance related topic, literally going into the weeds to more fully explore a subject. In this episode, Matt Kelly (the coolest guy in compliance) and I take a deep dive into the recent report in the New York Times about the settlement of CBS with the actor Eliza Dushku over allegations of retaliation for reporting sexual harassment by CBS series star in the TV drama Bull, Michael Weatherly. The entire episode exposed the culture at CBS and the failure in the structure of the company’s compliance program.

After reporting unwanted and/or inappropriate behavior, Dushku’s character was literally written out of the series. She went to mediation over the retaliation for her internal reporting. In a formal mediation process, CBS’s attempted to assassinate her character but the evidence presented backfired on CBS as it proved the harassment. Worse yet the character assassination attempts were made by a CBS lawyer who is also the company’s Chief Compliance Officer.

Some of the highlights include:

  • There were two forces at work which amplified the negative actions and effects.
  • The interest of CBS legal was to attack the accuser and settle the lawsuit.
  • The interest of a CCO should have been was to prevent, detect and remediate the issue so that it would create a speak up culture.
  • When you subordinate an ethical culture to a legal position, it works to destroy employee trust and morale.

For additional reading see Matt’s blog post “CBS Compliance, Culture Under Fire” in Radical Compliance.