The Dallas Mavericks recently were the subject of a thorough investigation into sexual harassment in the workplace after an explosive expose in Sports Illustrated. While the report includes mandates for the Mavericks, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants the other 29 teams to look at the report and use it to institute new policies. Dallas was found to have a culture where workplace misconduct and sexual harassment were rampant with management figures allowing the behavior to go unchecked.
Silver highlighted the need for all teams to hire more women, especially in leadership roles. He also would like to see more “community conversations” inside organizations about procedures, policies and general conduct of employees.
The list for encouraging equality in the workplace
The report included a list of strategies for making the NBA a better and safer place for women to work. Along with the above-mentioned general suggestions, the specifics include:
- Better harassment-report procedures
- Anonymous surveys regarding workplace culture
- Human resource departments with clout within the organization
- Harassment training for all staff with additional training to managers on how to handle issues
- Retaining general counsel in house
One set of rules for all the teamsThe commissioner also pointed out that having the same set of rules across the league gives the teams a checklist to make sure that they comply to all necessary employment and applicable laws. It also sets the tone for the entire NBA.
A wake-up call for other businesses
This shows that there can even be issues in the environment of a successful sports franchise. Management and ownership are always looking at the bottom line as measure for company health, but addressing important employment law issues can make a tremendous difference to the general well-being of employees.
Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban was innocent of any wrongdoing, but he has gone on record repeatedly apologizing to the victims, telling them he missed the clues. He also donated $10 million to organizations that combat sexual harassment and domestic violence, and those that foster leadership development for women. A knowledgeable attorney can help companies address issues and avoid problems so they do not become much bigger issues.