Why didn't HR stop Harvey Weinstein’s harassment?

by HRD10 Oct 2017
After shocking allegations of harassment were made public, Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein has been sacked by his own movie company - but why wasn’t his misbehaviour stopped by HR?

The board of The Weinstein Company fired its famous namesake after The New York Times revealed years of harassment claims, and resulting settlements, involving female former employees and acquaintances.

It was reported the New York Times had dug through old HR records and contacted many former employees for their accounts.

Staff spoke of how they were young at the time and didn’t know how serious his alleged misconduct was, or how to escalate it.

“The human resources operation was considered weak in New York and worse in London, so some employees banded together in solidarity,” The New York Times wrote.

However, it appears the board of directors, including Weinstein’s producer brother Bob - now the company’s chairman - had known about his misbehaviour for at least two years, after receiving an explosive memo from former employee Laura O’Connor, which detailed numerous allegations.

At least one board member wanted an independent lawyer to review her accusations; however, days later, Weinstein reached a settlement with O’Connor.

“Because this matter has been resolved and no further action is required, I withdraw my complaint,” O’Connor wrote to the head of human resources at the Weinstein Co.

The revelations have sparked outrage from across Hollywood, with Weinstein’s celebrity friends turning against him.


  • by Bob Aubrey 12/10/2017 11:08:18 AM

    The Weinstein case is sensational, but the question asked in the title is completely legitimate? If he had embezzled money his financial controller would be on trial. The ethical responsibilities of HR are unclear and there are few sanctions in such cases when they don't play their role -- letting HR off the hook by saying it is "weak" in this company is not an excuse. Ethical responsibility is definitely an area for improvement for the HR function and education and training in ethics should be required.

  • by John Marvin 2/8/2018 12:18:38 PM

    Interesting insight.

Most Read