One day, when I was donning a “Votes for Women'' shirt, a young man…
Lift Our Voices: Creating Systemic Change for Women in the Workplace
Across all types of workplaces – major companies, political campaigns, newsrooms – we hear the same story: sexual misconduct, misogyny, retaliation, or discrimination that allows a toxic environment to take root.
But at the center of every disturbing allegation are the brave survivors who come forward to share their stories in the hope of making a difference for those who follow. Our own stories show just how difficult is to speak up in the face on toxic behavior. We sued Fox News and its former chairman, Roger Ailes, for workplace sexual harassment and retaliation, and in order to be even marginally compensated for the damage to our careers, we were required to agree never to disclose anything we witnessed in our workplace. Since then, we have been forced to watch in silence as the network has repeatedly pledged that its current executives never participated in workplace toxicity. Our nondisclosure agreements prevent us from disclosing whether we know the network’s statements to be true or false.
Over the last five years, we have heard from hundreds of others who have been silenced by NDAs and forced arbitration clauses, which deny survivors their voice and the opportunity to seek justice and accountability. That is why we co-founded Lift Our Voices, a non-profit dedicated to eradicating concealment clauses that protect predators in the workplace. We understand the very real risk to women who fight for a better workplace environment and we will not rest until we make it safe for everyone to speak their truth, without fear of retribution.
No one should ever be punished for disclosing unacceptable workplace behavior – and no organization should be allowed to retaliate against an employee who fights for a more tolerant and respectful workplace environment. We should not prevent women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, or other traditionally marginalized groups from shining a light on their experiences and the illegal, toxic behavior they encounter at work.
We believe that everyone should have the power to share her story, and to hold her abuser accountable, without fear of retaliation. This is why we are committed to stopping organizations from using workplace policies that prevent employees from speaking out, telling their own stories or having their day in court. Because we have made it our lives’ work to empower survivors of workplace toxicity to demand accountability for the abuse they have experienced, we have worked with major companies to eliminate forced arbitration for toxic workplace issues, and have advocated for legislation from New Jersey to California, from Washington State to Washington, DC. Now, we are championing the Ending Forced Arbitration for Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021, federal legislation to give survivors their day in court.
It is past time to eradicate toxicity from the workplace. Allowing survivors to discuss their experiences is the key to making the workplace safer and more productive for every single American worker.
As part of the Women & Politics Institute’s “Women on Wednesdays” series, Gretchen Carlson and Julie Roginsky will discuss Lift Our Voices’ mission to end the silencing of harassment victims through forced arbitration and non-disclosure agreements on Wednesday, February 2 at 6pm ET. Register here: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/lift-our-voices”