When The Rules Don’t Get Followed: How a Personal Scandal on Vanderpump Rules Turned into Workplace Misconduct for a Local Business

While workplace misconduct seems pretty straight forward at first, the truth is it can be quite complex at times. Of course, everyone knows they shouldn’t commit fraud or bribery or create unsafe workplaces. But, there are also more subtle or even out-of-work and completely personal situations that can quickly become workplace scandals if not properly handled.

When personal scandals become workplace misconduct issues

A recent example of this just broke news in the BravoTV world. CNN recently reported that Vanderpump Rules costars Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix have broken up over allegations that Sandoval had an affair with another co-star, Raquel Leviss.

At first, this might seem like just another reality TV show dramatic moment. But, this personal situation took a turn toward workplace misconduct when Bravo fans took sides and started to impact Sandoval’s new business, Schwartz and Sandy’s.

Even after the news broke on March 3rd, it didn’t take long before other coworkers and cast-members took sides. Co-stars James Kennedy and Lala Kent urged fans on social media to show displeasure by attending Tom Sandoval’s band, Tom Sandoval and The Most Extras, gig over the next weekend to throw tomatoes at him and chant “Ariana.”

Since then, Sandoval has issued a public apology to his Schwartz and Sandy’s business partners pleading to fans not to let their reaction to his indiscretion harm the other Schwartz and Sandy’s investors and employees. He also noted that he is “taking a step back” from the bar for the time being.

Sandoval issue the following statement:

Schwartz and Sandy’s issued a statement, similarly, as well:

Could this scandal have been predicted or prevented?

It’s no surprise that a majority of hiring and investing decisions are made based on the candidate’s past experiences and behaviors. Whether that comes in the form of work history on a resume, a portfolio, or as part of a pitch deck, employers and investors are looking for past indicators of performance success and positive behaviors.  

Sandoval isn’t the only public figure with a history of sexual misconduct that led to public scandals. ABC News recently had a similar issue with anchors, T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach. After their inappropriate workplace relationship was made public, ABC pulled Holmes and Robach from the air and they later departed for this public scandal.

What can help prevent organizations from experiencing similar workplace misconduct scandals?

Today, most employers run at a bare minimum criminal and credit background checks on new employees and investment partners. While financial and crime-related data points are certainly helpful in the hiring or investment processes, there are more advanced screening solutions that help investors and employers judge behaviors that are more in the individual’s control - like those that screen for online public data for misconduct.

These online screening solutions leverage AI and human oversight to quickly and easily find instances of misconduct or behaviors that would be considered or suggest misconduct at work. They can detect things like sex, harassment, drug use, hate speech, theft, violence, and more to help employers and investors better understand who they are going to bed with (pun intended) before hiring or investing in a candidate. This level of insights makes it easy to hire, place, and invest in great people.

Online screening’s impact on the Media and Entertainment industry

Recent Fama data shows that the Media and Entertainment industry had some of the highest rates of misconduct we’ve seen - with nearly 27% of media and entertainment screenings we completed showing at least one misconduct flag.1 Considering many people within the Media and Entertainment industry lead significantly public lives, this isn’t surprising.

What is surprising, however, is that employers and investors are still choosing to partner and hire people with significant red flags despite having the tools to make better hiring and investment decisions.

In today’s world with today’s technology, preventing and avoiding workplace scandals doesn’t have to be a challenge. The hardest part - taking the first step.

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1. Fama’s 2021 and 2022 Toxic Behavior by Industry research