Just because Gretchen Carlson settled her lawsuit against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes does not mean she’s done fighting against the larger issue of workplace sexual harassment.
Carlson recently sat down with TIME Magazine to discuss her post-Fox future. Since the summer, she has become one of the most famous faces of workplace harassment. In July, Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes. He denied the charges, and the two eventually settled amidst a slew of other women coming forward with similar allegations against him. Ailes stepped down from Fox News with a 60 million dollar paycheck, and Carlson was awarded 20 million in the settlement.
Carlson has become something of a symbol of strength for women who are in a similar situation. She told TIME that publicly sharing her experience has opened the floodgates for other women to share theirs.
“I think this is happening every single day to women in all walks of life and in all different types of corporations,” she said. “I’ve heard from so many women, from Wall Street to a tiny little town in Alabama. It’s everywhere.”
Carlson said that she does not think that human resources departments are as equipped to deal with workplace harassment as they should be. She told TIME she’ll be working to close loopholes in employer contracts that make it more difficult for women to get justice in sexual harassment cases.
I’ve heard from so many women, from Wall Street to a tiny little town in Alabama. It’s everywhere. Gretchen Carlson
Specifically, Carlson will be testifying before Congress in support of anti-forced arbitration laws ― in her case with Ailes, her Fox News contract forced her to arbitrate, instead of going to court over the lawsuit in a public jury trial.
“A lot of people that I’ve heard from [about being unfairly dismissed] find themselves in the middle of either legal action or, more likely, forced arbitration,” she told TIME. “It is a huge problem. Because it’s secret. And it plays into why we think that we’ve come so far in society and we probably really haven’t ―because we don’t hear about it.”
The anti-forced arbitrations laws are sponsored by two Democratic Senators ― Al Franken and Patrick Leahy. Carlson’s move from Fox News darling to anti-harassment advocate testifying with two Democratic Senators might seem surprising, but Carlson told TIME that she has always been adamant about gender equality and women’s empowerment ― political party be damned.
“I’ve been for women’s empowerment my entire life,” she said. “It’s not like it’s just happened in the last couple of months. I’ve been very outspoken about it. For decades.”
Head over to TIME to check out Carlson’s full interview.