Attorneys General Bonta and James Launch Investigation into National Football League’s Workplace Practices and Culture

Thursday, May 4, 2023
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Request information from the NFL relating to possible violations of federal and state employment discrimination laws

LOS ANGELES – California Attorney General Rob Bonta and New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced a joint investigation into allegations of employment discrimination and a hostile work environment at the National Football League (NFL). The NFL has offices in New York and California with more than 1,000 employees. The joint investigation will examine the workplace culture of the NFL and allegations made by former employees, including potential violations of federal and state pay equity laws and anti-discrimination laws.  The Attorneys General today issued subpoenas to the NFL seeking relevant information. 

“California will not tolerate any form of discrimination,” said Attorney General Bonta. “We have serious concerns about the NFL’s role in creating an extremely hostile and detrimental work environment. No company is too big or popular to avoid being held responsible for their actions.”

“No person should ever have to endure harassment, discrimination, or objectification in the workplace,” said Attorney General James. “No matter how powerful or influential, no institution is above the law, and we will ensure the NFL is held accountable.”

In February 2022, the New York Times reported on more than 30 former female employees alleging gender discrimination and retaliation after they had filed complaints with the NFL’s human resources division. More recently, a former female manager filed an employment discrimination lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging age, sex and gender discrimination and a hostile work environment. Additional lawsuits filed against the NFL pertain to race discrimination targeting a Black female employee and sexual harassment of a female wardrobe stylist, amongst others. Last year, the U.S. Congressional Committee on Oversight and Reform initiated a congressional inquiry into allegations of workplace misconduct by an NFL team owner. The Committee held oversight hearings to determine the magnitude of the situation, including the role played by NFL leadership, and included calls for reform in its report.

Despite reports and allegations of abuse perpetrated by both players and male staff, allegations that the NFL has not taken sufficient effective steps to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation from occurring in the workplace persist. The Attorneys General of California and New York are exercising their legal authority to seek information from the NFL regarding allegations of gender pay disparities in compensation, harassment, and gender and race discrimination. 

Attorney General Bonta is committed to defending workers' rights, workplace safety, and California's fair and competitive labor market. Through the Civil Rights Enforcement Section, the Worker Rights and Fair Labor Section, and the Antitrust Law Section, Attorney General Bonta enforces California’s laws to protect the welfare of California workers and legitimate businesses operating in the state. The California Department of Justice has a long-standing practice of defending Californians from employment discrimination, including on the grounds of age, race, gender, and sex. In March 2023, Attorney General Bonta joined 17 attorneys general in supporting the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed rule limiting noncompete agreements. In November 2022, Attorney General Bonta joined 21 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief opposing McDonald’s attempt to evade liability for past alleged efforts to stifle competition and undercut wages through the use of “no-poach” agreements. In October 2022, Attorney General Bonta filed an amicus brief in an effort to protect Californians from discrimination in the employment hiring process.  


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