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NFL’s Goodell Backs Laws Geared toward Workplace Harassment

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell supports laws to limit the usage of workplace nondisclosure agreements, he said during a US House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday examining the alleged misconduct inside the Washington Commanders football organization.

Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) introduced the Accountability for Workplace Misconduct Act (H.R. 8146), a bill that may prevent employers from using non-disclosure agreements to limit in any way a employee’s ability to report harassment, bias, or retaliation to watchdogs like federal agencies or Congress. She also introduced the Skilled Images Protection Act (H.R. 8145), laws which might limit how employers can use worker images.

National Football League chief Goodell told the committee Wednesday that he backs the laws. Nevertheless, he said he believes the NFL has held accountable Washington Commanders co-owner and co-CEO Dan Snyder for his alleged misconduct. Goodell said Snyder has faced “unprecedented discipline” following allegations of sexual harassment, abuse, and other examples of workplace misconduct inside the Commanders organization. The league fined the club $10 million last yr.

The beleaguered NFL has faced quite a few recent allegations of workplace malfeasance, including a lawsuit filed by former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, together with two other Black coaches, alleging systemic hiring discrimination. A day before Goodell appeared before the House committee, the NFL requested a judge push those claims into arbitration, quite than allowing them to proceed in open court.

Flores’ lawsuit, brought in February, alleged the league’s mandate to interview minority candidates for certain management roles, referred to as the Rooney Rule, wasn’t properly utilized. The league expanded the Rooney Rule last month, adding quarterback coaches to the list of roles for which minority candidates have to be interviewed. The requirement previously applied only to the roles of head coach, general manager, and coordinator.

“I strongly consider that those accountable for the culture of harassment and abuse on the Washington Commanders have to be held accountable,” Maloney said in a written statement introducing the nondisclosure laws. She said lawmakers must use their legislative powers to stop others from experiencing similar harassment.

States—including California and Washington—have passed their very own laws limiting nondisclosure agreements, and individual employers have freed their employees from the pacts to report harassment or discrimination.

Maloney announced through the hearing her intent to issue a subpoena to Snyder for a committee deposition. Snyder declined an invite to testify before the committee Wednesday.

Maloney said in her opening statement that Snyder’s yacht is currently in France, situated “near a resort town.”

His failure to look before the committee “should inform you just how much respect he has for girls within the workplace,” she said.

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