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Ex-employee brings new harassment claim against Washington NFL owner Dan Snyder


Some other news now. The Washington Commanders triggered plenty of discussion by announcing their new name this week. But the Washington pro football team has not entirely escaped its recent past. Here's NPR's Andrea Hsu.

ANDREA HSU, BYLINE: What was billed as a roundtable on the toxic work culture at Washington's football team quickly lived up to its name.


TIFFANI JOHNSTON: This has affected me more than I originally thought. This is something no woman should be subjected to in the workplace. Certainly, no one should have to fend off sexual advances from a company's owner.

HSU: Tiffani Johnston, a former cheerleader and marketing manager who spent eight years with the team, was one of six former employees to bring their accounts of rampant sexual harassment to Capitol Hill. Some of their stories had been told before in The Washington Post, but Johnston brought up a new claim involving longtime team owner Dan Snyder. At a work dinner many years ago, she said, she was asked to sit next to Snyder.


JOHNSTON: Not for me to discuss business but to allow him, Dan Snyder, to place his hand on my thigh under the table.

HSU: She removed it, but after dinner, there was more. With his hand now on her lower back, Johnston said, Snyder pushed her aggressively toward his limo, encouraging her to ride with him to her car. He only relented when his lawyer stepped in.


JOHNSTON: And said, Dan, Dan, this is a bad idea, a very bad idea, Dan.

HSU: The following day, she was warned by a senior colleague not to tell anyone about it. In a statement, Snyder called the allegations outright lies, even as he apologized for misconduct within his organization. He said the team has vastly improved its culture. It's not the first allegation of sexual harassment Snyder has faced. The Washington Post reported that the team settled a case in 2009 involving a female former employee for $1.6 million. Snyder admitted no wrongdoing.

Andrea Hsu, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Andrea Hsu is NPR's labor and workplace correspondent.

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