As the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform continues to explore workplace dysfunction within the Washington Commanding Officers organization, the committee chairman has identified two specific areas where a legislation would be useful, because of the lessons learned from the situation of the commanders.
On Friday, the Committee announced that Rep. Carolyn Maloney had introduced legislation to restrict the use of nondisclosure agreements in the context of employment. She also introduced a bill regarding the use of images obtained from employees in the course of their employment.
The two bills introduced today would set standards for employers to protect workers and encourage them to foster workplace cultures aimed at preventing – rather than concealing – misconduct,” Maloney said. “I strongly believe that those responsible for the culture of harassment and abuse among Washington commanders must be held accountable and that as lawmakers we must use our legislative powers to protect other employees from this gross misconduct.”
The Committee’s statement also contains a significant passage regarding the NFL’s failure to implement a recommendation made by Mary Jo White following the events that led to the abrupt sale of the Panthers.
“In 2018, following the NFL’s investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination against then-Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, the league did not implements an independent investigator’s recommendations to prohibit the use of nondisclosure agreements that “limit the reporting of potential violations or cooperation in League investigations under the Personal Conduct Policy,” said the committee. “As a result, NFL teams such as the Washington Commanders can still use NDAs to evade accountability and silence employees who have experienced or witnessed harassment and discrimination in the workplace.”
Presumably, the league admitted to the Committee within the limits of the ongoing investigation that White’s recommendation was not implemented. Previously, the league did not respond to questions about limiting the use of the NDA.
The Workplace Misconduct Liability Act, as the committee explained, “would protect against the abuse of NDAs by prohibiting employers from using these agreements to limit, prevent or interfere with the ability an employee to disclose harassment, discrimination, or retaliation to government agencies or Congress. The law would also create “uniform requirements for employers’ handling of workplace investigations and improve workplace awareness and transparency.” process for employees”.
The Professional Image Protection Act, according to the Committee, “would guard against misuse by employers of employee images and ensure that employees have a say in how and when their images are used for commercial purpose”. This bill stems from the alleged use of cheerleading footage by team executives.
For those who instinctively cry out, “Hasn’t Congress got better things to do?” when the House undertakes inquiries like this, Congress can indeed do several things at once. And these two bills become tangible examples of the potential evolution of labor law triggered by a specific investigation. to limit specific abuses that may occur in businesses across the country.