As the NFL continues to deal with the aftermath of a clumsily-handled investigation of workplace misconduct within the Commanders organization, the league may next have to commission an investigation of the Raiders.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal takes a closer look at allegations of misconduct that first emerged after the abrupt firing of interim CEO Dan Ventrelle, who has claimed that he was fired after raising with owner Mark Davis complaints regarding workplace misbehavior.
The article, which advances last month’s reporting from the New York Times, includes on- and off-the-record comments from former employees.
The most forceful remarks come from Nicole Adams, a former H.R. employee who has filed a complaint against the team before the Nevada Human Rights Commission. She claims that she endured racial discrimination and retaliation after reporting concerns about unequal treatment and unequal pay for equal work. She also says that she was required to create job descriptions that allowed the team to avoid paying overtime to certain employees.
Per the report, some women claimed they were told what to wear to work, and that they were accused of distracting men in the office. Said Adams, “I just started wearing pants because I felt like I couldn’t wear skirts or dresses, or I would be seen as being provocative.”
Adams also rejects the notion that Ventrelle tried to protect the female employees.
“Dan was involved in every situation that happened, every situation of harassment, every situation of a hostile working condition,” Adams told the Review-Journal.
One unnamed former female employe said that the Raiders organization was a “boys club and the mob wrapped in one.”
Owner Mark Davis declined comment. But he vowed to speak out, in time.
“Eventually, I will have something to say about all of this, but not right now,” Davis told the Review-Journal.
The NFL declined to provide the Review-Journal with a comment on the situation. The league said, following Ventrelle’s firing, that it would “promptly look into” Ventrelle’s allegations.
Adams refused to accept a severance agreement when she was fired, preserving her ability to pursue claims against the Raiders — and to speak publicly about her experiences.
“Every time someone was let go, every time someone was retaliated against or pushed out, every time they had to leave feeling less than themselves, it hurt me,” Adams told the Review-Journal. “In the role of an H.R. professional, you’re supposed to protect people from things like that, but I had no power to do so.”
She has power to do something now. And she’s doing it. The NFL should meet with Adams. Based on what Adams tells the NFL, it should then begin interviewing other current and former employees.
And, of course, if anyone who speaks to the NFL requests anonymity, the league will try to hide everything it has learned. Again.