Washington fined $10m after workplace culture review

A review found that bullying and intimidation frequently took place and many described the culture as one of fear; numerous female employees reported having experienced sexual harassment and a general lack of respect in the workplace

Last Updated: 01/07/21 9:39pm

The NFL has fined the Washington Football Team $10m following a review into the culture of the organisation.

The league released a statement outlining the details of the review, led by independent counsel Beth Wilkinson and her firm (“Wilkinson”), that started in July 2020.

Based on the results of the review, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell concluded that: “For many years the workplace environment at the Washington Football Team, both generally and particularly for women, was highly unprofessional.

“Bullying and intimidation frequently took place and many described the culture as one of fear, and numerous female employees reported having experienced sexual harassment and a general lack of respect in the workplace.”

It was found that ownership and senior management “paid little or no attention” to the issues.

The report also said that Washington owner Dan Snyder has acknowledged he is responsible for the culture and failures within the organisation.

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder took responsibility for the workplace culture
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder took responsibility for the workplace culture

After considering Wilkinson’s findings and all information, the commissioner decided that: “in addition to paying all fees and expenses associated with Wilkinson’s investigation, the club will pay $10 million, which will be used to support organizations committed to character education, anti-bullying, healthy relationships and related topics.

“They will also fund programs directed more broadly at improving the workplace, particularly for women and other underrepresented groups, and training and development programs throughout the league, with recipients identified with the assistance of respected third-party advisors.”

In a statement on Washington’s website, Snyder said: “It is now clear that the culture was not what it should be, but I did not realize the extent of the problems, or my role in allowing that culture to develop and continue.

“I know that as the owner, I am ultimately responsible for the workplace.”

Snyder said his wife Tanya Snyder, who was recently named co-CEO of the team, will take over day-to-day operations. Dan Snyder will “concentrate on a new stadium plan and other matters”.

Goodell did, however, conclude that beginning towards the end of the 2019 season, Dan and Tanya Snyder made organisational changes in an attempt to improve the workplace culture.

One of those hires was head coach Ron Rivera, and Wilkinson’s review identified more positive steps to improve ownership and culture over the past two years.

Goodell said: “Over the past 18 months, Dan and Tanya have recognized the need for change and have undertaken important steps to make the workplace comfortable and dignified for all employees, and those changes, if sustained and built upon, should allow the club to achieve its goal of having a truly first-tier workplace.

“I truly appreciate their commitment to fully implement each of the below ten recommendations, but the league also must ensure accountability for past deficiencies and for living up to current and future commitments.”

Source : Sky Sports