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Attorneys general subpoena NFL in workplace discrimination probe

New York Attorney General Letitia James (pictured, 2022) and California Attorney General Rob Bonta subpoenaed the NFL on Thursday in a joint workplace discrimination investigation. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 2 | New York Attorney General Letitia James (pictured, 2022) and California Attorney General Rob Bonta subpoenaed the NFL on Thursday in a joint workplace discrimination investigation. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 4 (UPI) -- New York Attorney General Letitia James and California Attorney General Rob Bonta subpoenaed the NFL Thursday in a joint workplace discrimination investigation.

The subpoenas seek information related to possible violations of federal and state pay equity and anti-discrimination laws.

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The attorneys general said they will investigate the NFL's work culture and allegations made by former employees.

"No person should ever have to endure harassment, discrimination, or abuse in the workplace," said James in a statement. "No matter how powerful or influential, no institution is above the law, and we will ensure the NFL is held accountable."

The attorneys general said more than 30 women interviewed by the New York Times in 2022 alleged a toxic, discriminatory work culture at the NFL after they filed complaints with the NFL's human resources division.

"California will not tolerate any form of discrimination," said Bonta in a statement. "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."

In their announcement, the attorneys general cited a lawsuit filed against the NFL in April by Jennifer Love, the former director for NFL Enterprises LLC. In the suit, she alleged "pervasive sexism in the workplace and accused the NFL of having a 'boys club' mentality that created a hostile work environment.

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Bonta said in a statement that 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.

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores sued the NFL in 2022 alleging racial discrimination in employment.

His suit said, "The NFL remains rife with racism, particularly when it comes to the hiring and retention of Black head coaches, coordinators and general managers."

Ex-NFL coaches Steve Wilks and Ray Horton joined the Flores suit. A judge denied an NFL bid to have the suit settled in arbitration.

The attorneys general said "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 NFL has more than 1,000 employees in offices in California and New York.

In April 2022, six state attorneys general from Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Washington, Oregon, and Minnesota warned NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that the league's treatment of women and people of color is "entirely unacceptable and potentially unlawful."

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