With the support and oversight of the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks have taken vigorous steps to address misconduct in the Mavs’ front office dating back nearly two decades. The corrosive culture in the Mavs’ organization was first reported in a Sports Illustrated article which described “a corporate culture rife with misogyny and predatory sexual behavior.” The main offenders named in the SI story were the team’s former president, former head of HR, and the Mavs.com beat writer.
Within days of the article’s publication on instances of sexual harassment and other improper workplace conduct at the Mavericks’ organization, the Mavs engaged the New York-based law firm, Krutoy Law, P.C. to conduct an independent investigation into these allegations and any other allegations of serious workplace misconduct that the firm might uncover.
The firm’s 43-page report has now been released. Throughout the investigation, the law firm was in regular communication with the NBA and its outside counsel retained to lead the NBA’s oversight function. Near the end of the investigation, the law firm representatives met with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to discuss the firm’s findings. Silver said in a statement, “the findings of the independent investigation are disturbing and heartbreaking and no employee in the NBA or any workplace for that matter, should be subject to the type of working environment described in the report.”
The report contained 13 recommendations for changes to the Mavericks’ organization. Some of the key recommendations (underlined) and steps already taken by the Mavs are included below:
If the NBA and the Dallas Mavericks had set out to develop a model compliance program, they could not have gotten off to a better start. The Mavs have conducted a risk assessment (the Krutoy study), hired a professional, experienced ethics and compliance officer, created a new Code of Conduct, established and expanded their training program, and created policies and procedure for investigating, evaluating, and adjudicating workplace misconduct issues. Overall, HR resources have also been strengthened and expanded.
If the Mavericks program continues to get the backing of its owner and top management, it has the potential to evolve into an effective compliance program that will surely capture the attention of not only the other NBA teams, but the clubs of the NFL, MLB, and the NHL as well.