Vice Media told its staff on Wednesday that it is investigating accusations of sexual harassment within the company following a Daily Beast exposé. Phoebe Barghouty, a former employee, alleged that she was inappropriately touched by her manager—and rebuffed by Vice’s human resources department when she complained about the behavior. Barghouty was one of a dozen women who spoke to The Daily Beast, many of whom cited the “non-traditional workplace agreement” employees were forced to sign as a cover for unseemly acts. In a note to staff, the company said the agreement in no way excuses “harassment, abusive behavior, assault or retaliation.”
The full email is below:
As you may have seen, a story ran this morning centering on allegations made by a former employee. HR and external counsel are currently investigating the matter.
The story also highlights how Vice asks its employees to sign a non-traditional workplace agreement. This agreement is intended to ensure employees are comfortable when working around our “edgier” content. It does not address employee conduct.
Our company policy regarding behavior in the workplace, as stated in the handbook, does not allow or tolerate harassment, abusive behavior, assault or retaliation, and we will discipline anyone who engages in such conduct through a range of actions, including termination, as appropriate.
While it is stated in the handbook, I’d also like to reinforce the importance for all employees to utilize the various channels at their disposal to report anyone or anything that makes them uncomfortable. Available reporting channels include your manager or a representative of the Human Resources department.
If you would like to report something anonymously, you may also use VICE’s Employee Hotline, 1-800-XXX-XXXX, which is managed by an automated system that transcribes voice messages and automatically forwards them to the Human Resources department. To dial from outside the United States, use your international dialing prefix. As appropriate, tips and complaints will be investigated by legal counsel.