NYPR Board Releases Results of Investigation

Statement by the NYPR Board of Trustees in Response to Outside Investigation

April 24, 2018

Given disturbing allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior by several employees, the Audit Committee of the Board of NYPR commissioned an outside investigation into what happened and why. The committee hired Proskauer Rose LLP to look into the allegations, to determine whether they indicated broader systemic issues of sexual harassment, racial bias, and bullying at NYPR, and to make recommendations based on the investigation’s findings. The Board asked Proskauer to look specifically at how complaints were handled, whether people felt reluctant to come forward, and, if so, why. Management had no input into the conduct, conclusions, or recommendations of the investigators. We are grateful to everyone who came forward to share their knowledge and experiences.

The investigation did not find evidence of pervasive discrimination. It did find that anti-harassment policies were poorly communicated and enforced, leading to an environment where employees did not feel obligated or empowered to bring complaints to Human Resources. The investigation also determined that anti-bullying policies were inadequate and there were specific instances of bullying and offensive behavior by several employees toward colleagues and guests. The investigation found that harassment complaints were investigated when they reached senior management or Human Resources, and that senior management reacted promptly and strongly where violations were found. The investigation also did not find any evidence of retaliation for making such complaints.

The Board is sharing Proskauer’s Investigative Report, which specifically and directly addresses the ways in which we as an organization have fallen short and must do better.  While Proskauer briefed the Board in detail concerning specific allegations of inappropriate work place behavior, as well as confidential information about people affected by such behavior, the Board decided to protect employee privacy and comply with legal obligations by not sharing that investigative detail publicly.

The type of behavior investigated by Proskauer goes against everything we stand for, and we are deeply sorry for the pain that people experienced. It is the responsibility of NYPR’s management and Board to ensure a positive workplace environment: one where our policies are strong and well-communicated, where our managers can identify, address, and facilitate reporting of inappropriate behavior, and where we treat each other with decency and respect.

We take responsibility for what happened, and we are committed to doing better. Proskauer made a series of recommendations based on the results of their investigation. The Board fully accepts these recommendations and will work with management to adopt them.

Laura Walker is a committed and talented leader, and she has our full support. Over the past few months, Laura has worked with many managers and staff from across NYPR to comprehensively review the organization and the underlying reasons our policies and processes did not work the way they were supposed to. The work of recognizing weaknesses in an organization, and addressing them, is urgent and necessary. We thank and support everyone working hard to make NYPR a workplace that lives up to its values.

We are also looking inward, as a Board, to make sure we have the right structure, policies, tools and processes to provide oversight, manage risk, and hold management accountable.

We believe deeply in the power of public radio to teach, heal, open minds, and bring people together. We are making it our mission to ensure that this moment is not wasted, and that NYPR emerges a better, stronger organization for it. We know everyone at NYPR is committed to change, and we look forward to seeing the fruits of these efforts in the coming months.

The Proskauer report can be found here.