On February 20, 2018, Sports Illustrated published an investigative report detailing rampant sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and workplace misconduct in the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks organization.
The attorneys at Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, LLC currently represent several victims of the abuse and harassment experienced at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks organization and are currently in the investigative stage. If you or someone you know has information regarding the “corrosive workplace culture” within the Mavericks organization, please contact us today.
Sports Illustrated spoke with more than a dozen current and former Mavericks employees to substantiate the claims of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. They allege that numerous employees within the organization created an office culture that left them feeling unsafe and vulnerable.
According to the article, Mavericks President and CEO, Terdema Ussery, was the key figure in engaging in “sexual predatory behavior.” He continuously sexually harassed female employees of the Mavericks. Ussery’s actions ranged from inappropriate remarks to soliciting sex to groping women during meetings. The article also discussed a writer for the Mavericks, Earl K. Sneed, who violently assaulted a Mavs employee while employed by the team. The Mavericks organization knew that Sneed was previously arrested (and pled guilty) to domestic abuse of another woman. Despite this knowledge, Sneed kept his job with the team. After assaulting the employee in 2014, the employee, not Sneed, was fired from her job. It was not until after the publication of the Sports Illustrated article that Sneed finally lost his job.
On March 20, 2018, one victim, Melissa Weishaupt, had the courage to come forward and go on the record regarding the Dallas Mavericks’ “culture of harassment.” In her powerful piece for Sports Illustrated, Weishaupt “called out” the owner of the Mavericks, Mark Cuban, and asserted that the “buck stops” with Cuban.
On March 23, 2018, Deadspin published a follow-up report to the initial Sports Illustrated article by speaking with even more Mavericks employees. The article outlined more examples of the sexually demeaning culture within the Mavericks organization, ranging from a sales employee who regularly watched pornography during work, to high-level employees, including Ussery, who consistently made vulgar sexual comments to women. The article further reported on Buddy Pittman, the head of Human Resources for the Mavericks, and upper management, including George Prokos and Rob Erwin, who appeared to have knowledge of the workplace culture, but did little to stop it.
The Behavior by the Dallas Mavericks Organization and its Employees Potentially Violates Several Federal and State Laws
The Dallas Mavericks’ victims have a variety of potential legal claims, including gender discrimination and sexual harassment, which is covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as many state and local anti-discrimination laws.
Additionally, victims may have tort claims, such as negligent hiring, negligent supervision, and negligent retention claims against the Dallas Mavericks. Other civil claims that may be available to victims include fraudulent concealment and breach of fiduciary duty. Yet another legal claim that may be available for victims—which was most recently utilized in the Harvey Weinstein sexual enterprise cases—is under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”).
Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, LLC Investigates and Supports the #MeToo Movement
Just as the Dallas Mavericks is conducting its own investigation, FGBO is conducting an independent investigation into the organization and its potentially unlawful employment practices. If you are a current or former employee of the Dallas Mavericks and have information regarding the Mavericks, the attorneys at Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, LLC want to speak with you regarding your experience with the Dallas Mavericks. You can contact our attorneys at (727) 254-5255.