Washington Football Team Fined $10M Following Investigation into Toxic Workplace Culture

The money will go towards supporting "organizations committed to character education, anti-bullying, healthy relationships and related topics," the NFL said Thursday

NFL, Washington Football Team
NFL, Washington Football Team. Photo: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty; Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty

The independent investigation into the allegations of toxic workplace culture at the Washington Football team has concluded, resulting in a $10 million fine for the team.

The NFL announced the fine, as well as several other required steps for the team to take moving forward, on Thursday.

The league said that the investigation, which was conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson's firm, led commissioner Roger Goodell to conclude that "for many years the workplace environment at the Washington Football Team, both generally and particularly for women, was highly unprofessional," the NFL said in a statement on Thursday.

"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," the statement said.

Washington Football Team
Washington Football Team Stadium. Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty

The investigation was ordered after the Washington Post published two reports about the team's workplace environment last summer.

In a report published in July 2020, 15 women who were previously employed by the Washington Football Team said that they were sexually harassed and verbally abused by senior staff. A follow-up report published in August 2020 included testimony from 25 previously employed women who allegedly witnessed or were subject to sexual and verbal harassment.

On Thursday, the NFL said that "none of the managers or executives identified as having engaged in misconduct is still employed at the club."

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The $10 million fine money will be used "to support organizations committed to character education, anti-bullying, healthy relationships and related topics. They will also fund programs directed more broadly at improving the workplace, particularly for women and other underrepresented groups, and training and development programs throughout the league, with recipients identified with the assistance of respected third-party advisors."

Among Wilkinson's recommendations for the organization were semi-annual reviews from an independent third party until July 31, 2023; establishing a formal protocol for reporting allegations of harassment and misconduct; protocol for when disciplinary actions are necessary; frequent anonymous surveys about the company culture; an expansion of HR and legal counsel; a detailed plan to "protect" the cheerleaders; and others.

Team owner Dan Snyder and issued a statement Thursday accepting responsibility for the workplace environment and promising to implement Wilkinson's recommendations.

"I know that as the owner, I am ultimately responsible for the workplace," Dan said. "I feel great remorse for the people who had difficult, even traumatic, experiences while working here. I'm truly sorry for that."

"I can't turn back the clock, but I promise that nobody who works here will ever have that kind of experience again, at least not as long as Tanya and I are the owners of this team."

Dan Snyder
Dan Snyder. Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty

Dan's wife, Tanya Snyder, will be responsible for day-to-day team operations and will represent the club at league meetings and activities as the recently named co-CEO. Meanwhile, Dan will focus on a new stadium plan and other matters, the NFL's statement said.

Dan said that the Washington Football Team is "not finished" making changes, and "will continue to improve in every way that we can."

"I appreciate the people who came forward and intend fully to implement all of the recommendations coming out of the investigation. Going forward, my focus will be on making the Washington Football Team a source of pride to all of its employees, fans and partners, including my partners in the NFL," he added.

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