Harvey Weinstein was ousted from his company, The Weinstein Company, following a board of directors meeting Sunday evening. This move comes after Harvey Weinstein recently took an indefinite leave of absence.
The New York Times is responsible for all this drama. Just kidding. Harvey did this to himself. But, his past bad acts went largely unchecked until the New York Times released a shocking expose on October 5.
Weinstein admits he is working with a therapist to overcome his terrible temper. He also apologized publicly on October 6th. He stated, “I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it.”
Can a board of directors fire you from a company you founded?
Short answer: yes.
Boards of directors protect the company’s shareholders. The board occupies the highest-seat in the corporate structure. It hires the CEO and other company executives. It prepares compensation packages when it hires high-level executives. And, it fires those same high-level executives when they screw up or fail to perform their job as expected.
A board of directors can absolutely fire an executive. It can do so even if the executive founded the company. That’s not to say that there won’t be consequences though.
When an executive is fired without cause, parachute packages give executives a lump-sum payout. Marissa Mayer, for example, could get $23 million dollars if she is fired, or walks away from Yahoo before March 2018.
Also, if the shareholders don’t like the way the board of directors is running the company, they can sue the board.
It sounds like a complicated structure but it is actually pretty simple.
Shareholders appoint the board of directors. The board hires management. Management runs the company. The company pays the shareholders.
If the board sees an executive behaving in a way that will hinder the company’s ability to make money, the board has to fix the problem. If it doesn’t, it will have to answer to the shareholders.
There is nothing shady about Weinstein’s dismissal from his position with The Weinstein Company.
Weinstein represents a greater societal problem.
Before I went to law school I was a stay-at-home-mom. And I wasn’t a feminist. I didn’t believe that women actually still had it as bad as people said they did.
I was wrong.
Since working professionally, I have been told that I should work for the government because I have kids. I have been told that I will never leave the “family payroll” because I am a daughter and not a son. I’ve been written off and ignored by employers because I have responsibilities outside of the office.
And I have it good.
Harvey Weinstein and Cam Newton put a huge spotlight on issues women face in the workforce this week. Between sexual harassment (Harvey), disrespect for professional abilities (Cam), and plain old discrimination that goes unchecked women still have it pretty bad.
We’ll continue to have it bad, too, until enough Harvey Weinstein’s and Cam Newton’s are publicly shamed for society to reset its expectation about how women should be treated in the workplace.