Matt Lauer's years of alleged sexual harassment went unpunished until this November when NBC dismissed him after a former intern came forward with disturbing accusations. Now, amid questions surrounding what the network knew about Lauer's conduct and when, NBC has reportedly instituted strict new rules governing workplace behavior.
Page Six reported on Monday that "NBC employees have been ordered to report any inappropriate relationships in the workplace — and if they fail to do so, they could be fired for covering up for colleagues," according to a source.
The source also informed Page Six that "staffers have been told that if they find out about any affairs, romances, inappropriate relationships or behavior in the office, they have to report it to human resources, their superior or the company anti-harassment phone line."
To take it to the next level, the source further claimed NBC's new rules stipulate employees wishing to hug one another "have to do a quick hug, then an immediate release, and step away to avoid body contact" and are forbidden from sharing taxis home or, oddly, "taking vegans to steakhouses."
Things are getting specific over at 30 Rock.
The #MeToo movement has catalyzed a nationwide review of workplace sexual harassment policies, making it only inevitable that some of the many changes will overreach or strike a balance that does more harm than good. Threatening to fire adults who do not report their colleagues' internal "romances," which they may be partially misinformed on and could involve people of far greater power, is probably not the right approach (assuming it was characterized accurately by Page Six). Of course, if a person has clear knowledge a colleague is engaged in sexual misconduct, they should report it. But scaring people into thinking they'll be fired for not calling a hotline because two colleagues split a cab home or were intimidated out of reporting an authority figure, is probably counterproductive.
The network's painfully specific guidelines on hugging etiquette, however, are a welcome change. Hugs must be banned.