Basketball fans in Florida were no doubt elated to hear that the 2011-2012 season was just delayed, rather than cancelled outright. Whether your team is the Miami Heat or the Orlando Magic, it was likely welcome news to hear that the season is now underway.
The lockout was the most prominent employment dispute occurring in the NBA but it was not the only one. Earlier this month, a former NBA security official filed a lawsuit alleging that after nearly a decade of exemplary job performance, he was fired in retaliation for his advocacy on behalf of female colleagues who were victims of sexual harassment.
He began working for the NBA's security team in 2001 after being a lieutenant commander for the NYPD. He was eventually promoted to director of the NBA's security team.
Performance reviews were glowing during his first several years on the job. According to his complaint, however, he was passed over for a promotion after reporting to his superiors about several incidents and allegations of sexual harassment involving other employees.
He believes that because of his continued advocacy, his performance reviews began to suffer as well. His lawsuit alleges that he was subjected to a hostile work environment created by other senior NBA security officials, and that he was "demeaned" and "treated differently from other employees."
The 50-year-old former security director was fired in July of this year.
Sadly, allegations like this are hardly unique. There are plenty of work environments where sexual harassment is not only tolerated, it is promoted. And those who speak out against such illegal actions may compromise their own jobs in the process.
The recently fired employee said: "They encourage you to report something and when you do, it seems as if it's taken out on you. And that's a problem, I feel."
Source: New York Times, "Former N.B.A. Employee Says Sexual Harassment Concerns Were Ignored," Howard Beck, Dec. 15, 2011