Oregon: Settlement with Victoria’S Secret Owner Ends “Fear” | Oregon News
By ANDREW SELSKY, Associated Press
SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Oregon officials believe a $ 90 million deal it struck with Victoria’s Secret parent company ensures an end to its “culture of harassment and fear.”
Under the settlement, Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, owned by L Brands Inc., each pledged to invest $ 45 million over at least five years to protect employees from harassment and discrimination and to hold employees accountable. executives for misconduct, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Treasurer Tobias Read said in an emailed statement Monday.
It also frees former employees from nondisclosure agreements, allowing them to speak publicly about their experiences.
The settlement is on behalf of the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund and other shareholders who have alleged that the L Brands board failed to investigate the close personal ties of the former CEO and chairman emeritus Leslie Wexner with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, and had ignored a widespread culture of sexual harassment. in the business, the two Oregon officials said.
According to a New York Times article published in February 2020, Wexner and his former chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, presided over a deep-rooted culture of misogyny, bullying and harassment at Victoria’s Secret, an underwear company and of lingerie.
“By leaving a pattern of sexual misconduct, bullying and retaliation unanswered, L Brands’ board of directors has not acted in the best interests of shareholders,” said Rosenblum. “Gone are the days of promoting a culture of silent harassment and fear at Victoria’s Secret and other L Brands companies.
L Brands said in a statement last Friday that it had agreed to corporate governance and management measures, including setting up a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, strengthening policies and procedures for reporting and investigating sexual harassment complaints and hiring a consultant. The company did not admit any wrongdoing in its statement.
The settlement comes as Victoria’s Secret splits from L Brands to become its own public company.
L Brand’s board chair, Sarah Nash, said the settlement marks the full and final resolution of shareholder malpractice claims.
“This global resolution, with its commitment to cutting-edge governance policies, is an extremely positive outcome for the company and its shareholders,” said Nash. “It further prepares Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret to succeed as independent public companies with strong management teams and boards of directors committed to the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Oregon officials said the settlement resolves allegations by the State of Oregon and the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund, as well as the lawsuit filed by another shareholder, Milton Rudi, before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
The settlement was due to be filed in this court and is subject to court approval, L Brands said.
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