NBC issues new rules on ‘hugging’ and office relationships

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Rocked by the sexual harassment scandal surrounding Matt Lauer, NBC News execs are coming down hard on employees with new rules that detail how they must conduct themselves in the office.

Since Lauer was fired on Nov. 28 as a result of The New York Times’ report regarding allegations from multiple women about sexual harassment, the network has been doing damage control. Earlier this month, NBC News said it would require employees to take anti-harassment training and conduct a “culture assessment” of the news division in response to Lauer’s firing.

On Monday, The New York Post revealed NBC’s new behavioral guidelines, which state that employees have been ordered to report any inappropriate relationships in the workplace. Should they fail to do so, they could be fired for covering up for colleagues.

“Romantic relationships at work are not exactly unusual, but now NBC says it is taking a zero-tolerance approach,” a source told the paper. “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. Staffers are shocked that they are now expected to snitch on their friends.”

The source detailed a few of the “ridiculous rules” issued to guide office conduct:

  • No prolonged hugging; no body contact.
  • No sharing taxis home.
  • No taking vegans to steakhouses.

Andy Lack, the chairman of NBC News, said in a staff memo that a review of the “inappropriate sexual conduct” charges that led to Lauer’s firing resulted in interviews with at least 40 other employees.

Lauer, a married father of three, hasn’t admitted to all the allegations but did say, “There is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed,” and has claimed to be “truly sorry” since his behavior was outed.

His wife, Dutch model Annette Roque, is reportedly consulting divorce lawyers after nearly ten years of marriage.

The couple was seen together at their Sag Harbor horse farm in The Hamptons on Saturday, but Roque was reportedly not wearing her wedding ring.

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