BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Approval of the new Bills stadium comes as New York’s Attorney General has announced a new investigation into the NFL.
The State of New York will join the State of California on the investigation, into the NFL’s workplace practices and culture. The league was issued a subpoena requesting information from the league on possible violations of employment discrimination laws and a hostile work environment.
Allegations have been made from former NFL employees that the league may be in violation of pay-equity and anti-discrimination laws.
“I think it is a serious investigation and this is how they begin right at the front end so you can rest assured the NFL has received complaints either from individuals or collective groups who feel that there has been created a hostile work environment,” said legal analyst Mike Taheri, “And it’s going to take some time and you’re not going to have a conclusion for a bit but this is how competent investigations are done you need a lead investigator a couple lawyers and then you start the process.”
In a statement California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta says: “we have serious concerns about the NFL’s role in creating an extremely hostile and detrimental work environment. No company is too big or popular to avoid being held responsible for their actions.”
This is what NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told the House Oversight Committee nearly a year ago, while it was investigating the culture within the Washington Commanders.
The committee found that Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder promoted a “culture of fear,” with deeply rooted issues such as sexual harassment, bullying and intimidating whistleblowers. Prosecutors will also investigate possible racial discrimination. Last year, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores sued the NFL and three teams alleging racial discrimination in the NFL’s hiring process.
That civil case is still pending. The NFL responds to this new investigation saying the league does not tolerate discrimination in any form and that the NFL will comply in this process.
Here’s the full statement:
The NFL is committed to ensuring all employees of the league are respected, treated fairly, and have equitable pay and access to developmental opportunities. Our policies are intended not only to comply with all applicable laws but to foster a workplace free from harassment, intimidation and discrimination.
These allegations are entirely inconsistent with the NFL’s values and practices. The NFL offices are places where employees of all genders, races and backgrounds thrive. We do not tolerate discrimination in any form.
We take these matters seriously and will fully cooperate with the attorneys general.
Following a similar inquiry on April 6, 2022 from Attorney General James and other state attorneys general, the NFL responded on May 18, 2022 in writing. We outlined many of the policies, practices, education programs and partnerships we have implemented to act on this commitment and invited the state attorneys general to meet and discuss our efforts in these areas. We received no further communication from any of the attorneys general before today’s announcement.
We look forward to again sharing information and providing further updates on our continuing efforts to maintain an environment in which all employees can succeed—one that goes far beyond ensuring that employees work in an environment free from harassment, intimidation, and discrimination.
We are confident that our pay practices exceed any requirement of the law, and as many organizations do, we regularly take deliberate steps to ensure women and people of color are compensated equitably. This includes working with third-party experts to ensure compensation decisions are not impacted by race, ethnicity, or gender, and we are proud of the results of that work.
Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.