BY ABY ODUSOLA
The Africa Music Law Show sets the facts straights on its latest episode released yesterday titled “Abiola Oke & Richelieu Dennis Harassment Claims: Lessons for Employers and Executives”. Host Ms. Uduak Oduok and fellow Employment Lawyer Michelle Reynolds took a foray into the legal implications of the recent lawsuits against both Abiola Oke, CEO of OkayAfrica and OkayPlayer and Richelieu Dennis, CEO and Executive Chairman of Essence and Sundial Brands.
Back in June, the African Diaspora entertainment community received shocking news when Black women at Okay Africa and Essence Magazine accused the CEOs, Abiola Oke and Richelieu Dennis, respectively, of inappropriate behavior, and labor and employment law violations including sexual harassment. The allegations were far-reaching and caused a wave of reactions, forcing both CEOs to resign from their positions. Since then, in recent times, Dennis claims that the independent law firms hired by Essence Magazine to investigate the allegations, have exonerated him, and found no merits to the harassment claims. Notwithstanding, the claims against both executives remain.
The show discussed the sexual harassment claims leveled against both individuals, the lessons to be learned from each case, how to ward off toxicity in the workspace, and tips to guide future employer-employee relations.
Walking the thin line of male-female relations in a working environment can be a daunting terrain, especially when we are uncertain of what may amount to unfair treatment as it relates to colleagues. With fresh scandals coming up in the news every other time, it’s imperative to educate oneself on what laws exist and how to protect oneself against possible harassment or Misallegations. Ms. Uduak and Reynolds help navigate otherwise sensitive issues with helpful pointers as they discuss the struggle to find a relationship balance where there’s a power differential, the make or break effects of proper documentation, the necessity of HR services in a growing company among other useful information. This episode is a necessity for young executives and entrepreneurs, employers, and employees alike.