NBC issues hugging guidelines to staff in wake of Matt Lauer sexual assault scandal

NBC News has issued new guidelines to staff in the wake of the sexual harassment scandal surrounding Matt Lauer, America’s highest-paid television news host.

Lauer was fired on November 28 after The New York Times reported allegations from multiple women about sexual harassment.

He was the network’s highest-paid star, earning $25 million a year.

The broadcaster has now reportedly issued new behavioural guidelines, obtained by The New York Post.

Employees have been ordered to report any inappropriate relationships in the workplace, according to the paper, and if they fail to do so, they could be fired for covering up for colleagues.

Detailed rules also have been issued about conduct in the office, including how to socialise and even how to hug 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 behaviour 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 added that there are also “a series of ridiculous rules” issued to guide office conduct.

“One rule relates to hugging. If you wish to hug a colleague, you have to do a quick hug, then an immediate release, and step away to avoid body contact,” the source said.

“Also there’s strict rules about socialising, including [not] sharing taxis home and [not] taking vegans to steakhouses.”

NBC News representatives have not commented.

Matt Lauer with his co-host, Savannah Guthrie

Earlier this month, NBC News said it would require employees to take anti-harassment training and conduct a “culture assessment” of the news division following Lauer’s firing.

Andy Lack, the chairman of NBC News, said in a staff memo that a review of the “inappropriate sexual conduct”…

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