The Dallas Mavericks have been in the news a lot as of late, and not because of anything they’ve been doing on the court. Off the court, the Mavericks organization found itself in the midst of some serious sexual harassment allegations. The NBA team’s owner, Mark Cuban, was at the center of sexual harassment allegations stemming from a 2011 incident at Portland’s Barrel Room. As we discussed last month, Cuban was accused of sexually violating a woman during a photo op at the Portland hangout. But the outspoken Mavs owner isn’t the only one in the organization facing sexual harassment charges. A February Sports Illustrated feature revealed a subculture of sexual harassment going on within the organization, most of which stemmed from actions by the team president and CEO, Terdema Ussery. In fact, Ussery had a reputation as a “serial sexual harasser”.
Over the last six months, numerous complaints have been filed against the Mavericks alleging gender, sexual, and racial issues that were taking place within the organization. Not only has Ussery made countless women uncomfortable with his actions, but there was also an incident involving a noose found in the arena that was never properly dealt with. After months of media attention and outcry, the organization is finally taking action. At the end of March, the Mavericks added two new executive hires following the sexual harassment scandal: CEO Cynthia Marshall and Senior Vice President Tarsha Lacour.
Changes Coming to the Mavericks in Wake of Sexual Harassment Scandal
New CEO Synthia Marshall says she hopes more women will come forward and help them improve the work environment and company culture that previous employees had referred to as hostile. According to the Sports Illustrated expose, former CEO Ussery has been sexually harassing employees in the workplace for years. The accusations range from being propositioned by Ussery for sex to inappropriate touching and lewd comments. Ussery continues to deny the allegations.
With the addition of Marshall and Lacour, the NBA team has launched a 100-day plan to get things back on track and address the deep-seeded issues within the organization. Mark Cuban, for one, has been outspoken about the entire situation, noting that everyone should be treated equally. The 100-day plan has begun, giving everyone involved an opportunity to reset and figure out where they went wrong.
The first step in the plane is a mandatory “Respect in the Workplace” training that all employees – from the front office to basketball court – must undergo. Marshall’s vision is that, by 2019, the Mavericks organization will set a new standard for inclusion and diversity for the NBA. Over the next several months and moving forward, the organization will be promoting both diversity and inclusion in an effort to change interactions and inappropriate, negative thought patterns and behaviors.
Sexual harassment is a serious problem in many different industries, but thanks to movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, that is hopefully changing. Janovksy & Associates are leaders against sexual harassment and sexual discrimination, representing hundreds of clients on these issues. If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual harassment or violence in the workplace, please do not hesitate to give us a call. We understand how emotional these types of cases are and will stand by your side as we fight for your rights. Please give our Dallas sexual harassment law firm a call today to schedule a free consultation.