At a time when troubling stories about sexual harassment appear in the media almost daily, the plaintiffs law firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann is wielding the threat of investor litigation to ensure that such behavior at public companies becomes unacceptable and that, when it does take place, company directors and officers will pay.

The firm used this tactic with 21st Century Fox Inc., the parent company of Fox News, after a number of women, including television host Gretchen Carlson, leveled harassment claims against former CEO Roger Ailes and, later, TV personality Bill O’Reilly. Armed with the force of a large institutional investor threatening a third-party derivative lawsuit, the firm got 21st Century Fox  to  agree to a settlement that requires the company to  institute specific corporate governance reforms and compels its directors and officers, as well as the Ailes’ estate, to pay $90 million through third-party insurers. The money would go back to the company for the benefit of shareholders.

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