The lawyers representing former Washington Football Team employees who accused the organization of fostering a toxic workplace environment and sexual harassment blasted the NFL on Thursday.
The league announced a $10 million fine following the conclusion of its investigation. The league did not strip the team of any draft picks or force any change at the top of the organization.
Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represented 40 former Washington team employees in their accusations accused the NFL of protecting Washington owner Daniel Snyder and calling the NFL’s decision a “slap in the face” to their clients.
“In response to a year-long investigation in which more than 100 witnesses were interviewed, and which we believe substantiated our clients’ allegations of pervasive harassment, misogyny and abuse at the Washington Football Team, the NFL has chosen to protect owner Dan Snyder,” the statement read.
“Ignoring our requests that it make the report prepared by Beth Wilkinson public, the NFL has chosen instead to receive only an oral report of the findings and to fine owner Dan Snyder what amounts to pocket change. This is truly outrageous, and is a slap in the face to the hundreds of women and former employees who came forward in good faith and at great personal risk to report a culture of abuse at all levels of the Team, including by Snyder himself. The NFL has effectively told survivors in this country and around the world that it does not care about them or credit their experiences. Female fans, and fans of goodwill everywhere, take note.”
Beth Wilkinson was hired to review the cultural issues in the organization. As a part of her investigation, she interviewed over 150 people, including current and former employees. The NFL said Wilkinson made 10 recommendations for the organization to implement and applauded Washington for making “considerable progress” in the implementation.
The recommendations included: Protocols for reporting harassment, disciplinary action plan, regular culture surveys, regular training, more diverse workforce, establish clear lines of authority, expand and empower human resources, develop formal onboarding, performance management and compensation system and exit interview process, protecting the cheerleading team and have a regular assessment of policies.
“Based on Wilkinson’s review, the Commissioner concluded that for many years the workplace environment at the Washington Football Team, both generally and particularly for women, was highly unprofessional. Bullying and intimidation frequently took place and many described the culture as one of fear, and numerous female employees reported having experienced sexual harassment and a general lack of respect in the workplace,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.
Last year, The Washington Post reported that as many as 40 women who worked for the organization came forward and described the team’s workplace as toxic and demeaning toward female employees over the last decade. The women alleged that they dealt with sexual harassment and sexual discrimination in the workplace.
Snyder said he is implementing the recommendations and he feels “great remorse” for those who had negative experiences with the organization in the past.
The fine is expected to go to charity.
Fox News’ Dan Canova contributed to this report.