A senior Phoenix Suns employee resigned last month after she claimed she was the target of bullying and retaliation by her superiors for raising concerns about gender equality and misconduct, ESPN’s Baxter Holmes reported.
The woman, who started working for the Suns in 2007, was the team’s senior senior experience manager for more than eight years before stepping down nearly a month ago. In her resignation letter, which she emailed to 16 members of the team’s ownership group, she asked them to address the team’s toxic and misogynistic workplace culture — an issue the league is currently investigating.
The former employee did not specifically address any issues between her and major shareholder Robert Sarver, a key subject of the league’s investigation, nor did she name any employees.
She did, however, provide a specific list of complaints and allegations. Among them, she said, “there is an inherent conflict of interest with the manager’s ability to accept commissions, pick deals, modify the terms of suite leases to pay out of pocket, and operate in a different way than the rest of the sales organization, with no real consistent system or oversight,” According to ESPN. She also pointed to what she believed to be a “lack of follow-up” and a failure to resolve conflicts or show a “genuine concern for employee well-being.”
She also said she was the only mother on the team for over a decade, which she thought was suspicious. She also claimed that a male colleague was paid more than her and was allowed to work remotely.
“As a working mother, when I asked for the same flexibility, I was turned down,” she wrote via ESPN. “I’ve observed this inequity throughout the Suns organization, and I’ve experienced first-hand the kind of gender-based misconduct that has been described in recent media reports. sharing my concerns), I was fired – even told to ‘take a cold shower’ at one point.”
She also said there had been “ongoing retaliation and bullying” since her first complaint, when she had been excluded from client dinners and had been micromanaged ever since.
“My job has become more unbearable and toxic than ever,” she wrote via ESPN.
The Suns have not denied her allegations, but said they have opened an investigation.
“We are aware of the allegations made by a former employee and are investigating them, consistent with our workplace respect policy,” the organization Suns Legacy Partners said in a statement to ESPN. “The Phoenix Suns are committed to creating A safe, respectful and inclusive work environment free from discrimination and harassment, and we do not tolerate retaliation for reporting suspected misconduct.”
The Suns have been under investigation after an ESPN report detailed several allegations of racism, misogyny and other misconduct within the organization, mostly by Sarver. Among other things, Sarver is accused of using the N-word, discussing sexual activity or topics in the office, making verbal rants, interfering in court business, and more. He also allegedly ordered players to “kill” Vince Carter during games, while his wife allegedly sent threatening or intimidating messages to former Suns employees after the allegations first became public.
Sarver denied all allegations against him long before the ESPN report was published. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said earlier this month that the investigation is “close to completion,” although there’s no specific timeline yet.