Things have not been going well for the Washington Redskins these days. Long under pressure to change a name that many find offensive, team owner Daniel Snyder finally acquiesced. Now, 15 former female employees are alleging widespread sexual harassment and verbal abuse. Top executives did not just condone such behavior – they were among the worst perpetrators.
The harassment reportedly took place over 13 years, from 2006 to 2019. Most of these young women initially looked upon their employment as a dream job. It was not long before it became a nightmare.
Routine Physical Appearance Discussion
According to the women, executives routinely referred to the women by their physical appearance. They were told to wear sexy clothing and flirt with customers to aid in deal closing.
Women describe constantly being hit on. The texts and emails provided prove their point. There are invitations to hotel rooms during training sessions, and all sorts of suggestive – and vulgar – comments.
Not all of the women coming forward worked for the Redskins per se. Married scouting director Alex Santos aksed one reporter covering the team if she found him attractive and would go out with him. The journalist said he harassed her about dating him.
A Toxic Culture
While Snyder has not been accused of sexual harassment, the women blame him for fostering the organization’s toxic culture. He constantly bullied and belittled executives. Snyder once told a male sales executive, a former cheerleader, to perform cartwheels.
One of the women, Emily Applegate, now 31, says former team president Bruce Allen must have been aware of how the women were treated. She worked as a marketing coordinator, and he sat 30 feet away from her desk. According to Applegate, he would see her sobbing several times weekly after she received verbal abuse from another executive. Allen was fired at the end of 2019.
Another woman, who had previously worked in politics, described the environment as hostile, manipulative, and passive-aggressive, the worst atmosphere she had ever worked in.
No HR Department
The Redskins’ human resources department consisted of one fulltime employee. The position required oversight of 220 employers. The women allege there was no mechanism to report sexual harassment even if a true HR department existed.
The company “core values” book the women receive at the start of their employment mentions sexual harassment, but not any means to address it.
Firing and Retiring
Two of the men accused were fired by the Redskins, and another retired. Santos and Richard Mann II, the assistant director of pro personnel, were terminated. Mann had sent text messages questioning whether an employee’s breasts were real and telling another to expect “an inappropriate hug.”
He then told the employee she might find a “stapler” in his pocket. Larry Michael, the longtime announcer, retired. He had the habit of discussing the physical attributes of female employees in sexual “overtones.”
The team has hired a top DC attorney to “conduct a thorough independent review” of the situation and “help the team set new employee standards.”
Snyder said the alleged behavior has no place in the franchise or society.
Victims of sexual harassment in sports are subject to strict time limits to take action. As soon as an incident occurs, you should contact a Whistleblower Law Group sexual harassment lawyer so that we evaluate your case and begin protecting your rights.
For a free, confidential consultation about your case with an experienced sexual harassment lawyer, contact us today: 877.858.8018 or [hidden email].