New York AG seeks answers from NFL on discrimination
The Attorney General for New York has sent a letter to the National Football League requesting that they clarify their policy on equal opportunity hiring following reports from recruits that they were being questions about their relationship status and sexual orientation.
The letter stressed the need for equal hiring policies for the professional sports league, emphasizing equal protection laws that ban hiring discrimination based on sexual orientation.
College football players who were being considered for professional teams said that they were asked by team representatives about whether they were in a relationship and whether they liked women or not. When the reports of this originally emerged, an NFL spokesperson said that those types of questions were improper under league policies.
However, as employees who have faced workplace discrimination know, organizations often make policies that they don’t enforce.
The NFL has its headquarters here in New York and is bound by state employment laws banning discrimination based on race, age, gender, and other protected classifications. As a national organization they also operate in states with a variety of other types of employment protections, including those which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The league issued a statement that they follow all relevant state and federal employment laws.
New York employees who believe they were not hired because of the sexual orientation or who have faced discrimination or harassment in the workplace for that reason may be able to seek a remedy under state employment laws. In some cases, employees who have faced this type of discrimination or harassment can seek to have their employer change their hiring policies or improve anti-discrimination training programs.
Source: CNN, “New York pushes NFL on discrimination due to sexual orientation,” March 14, 2013.
Information about sexual orientation discrimination in New York workplaces can be found on our website.