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The U.S. Congress will host a roundtable next week to learn more about the Washington Football Team's workplace culture. The date falls one day after the scheduled announcement of the team's new name and logo.
The House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform will host a "hybrid roundtable" with former WFT employees to discuss the workplace and the NFL's "failure to take steps to prevent sexual harassment and verbal abuse ... under the leadership of owner Dan Snyder," per the release.
The roundtable will be held Thursday, Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. ET on Capitol Hill and via Zoom. The Washington Football Team announced at the beginning of this month it would reveal its new name and logo on Feb. 2.
Washington will announce its new name on 2.2.22. Now the US Congress announces a hearing on Washington investigation on 2.3.22. pic.twitter.com/oElRLTMGRc
— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) January 27, 2022
Roundtable to discuss workplace culture
The committee members will hear firsthand accounts from former employees to "inform potential legislative solutions to better protect all workers from harassment and discrimination," per the release. They have taken issue with the league's lack of transparency in the investigation, which would help prevent if from happening again.
"It is becoming increasingly clear that not only did the team fail to protect employees, but the NFL went to great lengths to prevent the truth about this toxic work environment from coming to light," Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney said in the release. "The NFL’s decision to cover up these abuses raises serious questions about its commitment to setting workplace standards that keep employees safe."
The roundtable will include Emily Applegate, former marketing coordinator who had worked in client services and tickets sales; Melanie Coburn, former director of marketing and a former cheerleader; Rachel Engelson, former marketing and client relations director who started as an intern; Ana Nunez, former coordinator of business development and client service; and Brad Baker, a former video production manager. Additional witnesses will be announced.
WFT investigation timeline
In July 2020, following reports of a toxic work environment and "highly unprofessional" workplace, the WFT hired attorney Beth Wilkinson to conduct an internal investigation. It was quickly handed over the the NFL. The league did not publicly disclose any findings of the investigation and has no written report.
Team owner Dan Snyder and other executives were accused of serious sexual misconduct. The team was fined $10 million by the NFL after Wilkinson's investigation. Snyder also agreed to temporarily give control of the team to his wife, Tanya. Emails from the investigation have been leaked, including ones that resulted in Jon Gruden's resignation in Las Vegas.
The committee requested documents on the league's investigation into workplace harassment and misconduct in late October. Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney and Raja Krishnamoorthi signed a letter to commissioner Roger Goodell and alleged communication between the former general manager and NFL general counsel may have influenced how the investigation was handled.