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Six attorneys general urge NFL to take ‘swift action’ to improve working conditions for female employees

State attorneys general have vowed to use “the full weight” of their authority to investigate and prosecute allegations of harassment, discrimination or retaliation following recently released reports by female NFL employees. The letter, released by James’s office, was co-signed by AGs from Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington.

The warning comes as the NFL faces an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against a franchise owner and faces scrutiny for its lack of diversity in leadership positions.

In the letter, the AGs cite a February New York Times report in which more than 30 former league employees described a workplace that was hostile to women.

“Employees described experiencing unwanted touching from male bosses, attending parties where prostitutes were hired, being subjected to unfair criticism based on stereotypes, being passed over for promotions based on of their gender and being deported for complaining of discrimination,” the letter reads, citing the report.

“In fact, some former employees have since learned that there is no record of their gender discrimination complaints,” the letter continues.

About 37% of the NFL’s 1,100 employees are women and 30% are people of color, the letter notes.

In a statement to CNN, the NFL said it shares “the Attorneys General’s commitment to ensuring that all of our workplaces – including the league office and 32 clubs – are diverse, inclusive and free from discrimination and harassment”.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the organization has “made great strides” over the years, but acknowledged that it, like many organizations, “still has work to do.”

“We look forward to sharing with the attorneys general the policies, practices, protocols, education programs and partnerships we have in place to follow through on this commitment and confirm that the league office and our clubs maintain a place of respectful work where all of our employees, including women, have the opportunity to thrive,” said McCarthy.

State AGs have warned the NFL to address “its apparent continued inaction” in addressing these issues, adding that “if true, the NFL’s failures may violate local, state and anti-discrimination laws.” federal laws, which prohibit employers from discriminating against women, people of color and victims of domestic violence, or subjecting them to a hostile work environment,” according to James’ statement.

The letter also reminded the NFL of commitments it made to improve policies in 2015 after former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was filmed in an elevator punching his fiancée. and knocking him out in 2014. “The NFL must finally deliver on its promise and do better – pink jerseys are no substitute for equal treatment and full inclusion of women in the workplace,” the statement read.

NFL faces allegations of harassment and discrimination

The NFL is currently investigating allegations of sexual harassment against Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder.

Tiffani Johnston, a former cheerleader and the team’s marketing and events coordinator, told a House Oversight Committee roundtable in February that Snyder allegedly put his hand on her thigh during a dinner and allegedly pushed her towards his limo with her hand on her lower back as she rebuffed his advances.
Six attorneys general urge NFL to take ‘swift action’ to improve working conditions for female employees

One of Snyder’s attorneys said the allegations were “false and have been categorically denied by Mr. Snyder.”

Goodell says the league takes the allegations “very seriously.”

The letter from state AGs also comes as the NFL and three football franchises face a lawsuit from former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores who alleges racial discrimination in hiring practices. of the league.

Flores accused the New York Giants and Denver Broncos of conducting mock interviews to comply with the “Rooney Rule,” which requires NFL teams to interview at least two minority outside candidates for coaching positions. head coach.

The NFL called Flores’ allegations baseless, saying in a statement that “diversity is at the heart of everything we do.”

Six attorneys general urge NFL to take ‘swift action’ to improve working conditions for female employees
As recently as March, Flores’ attorneys said the NFL was pushing for arbitration on the matter.

In late March, the NFL announced initiatives directly related to continued criticism of the league’s lack of diversity in leadership positions.

The NFL has created a six-member Diversity Advisory Committee that will review the league’s hiring policies and practices with a focus on high-level coaching and front office staff positions.

A new commitment addresses an area that has historically been difficult for minorities to break into: All 32 clubs are now required to hire a woman or minority offensive assistant coach.

“This person will receive a one-year contract and will work closely with the head coach and attacking staff to gain experience. Clubs will receive reimbursement from a league-wide fund for the coach’s salary up to 2 years,” the NFL said.

The league added that the resolution would help develop the “diverse offensive pipeline”.

CNN’s Wayne Sterling contributed to this report.

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