A long-serving NBA official with a sterling record says he was fired from the organization in July for sticking up for women who were being sexually harassed:
A former N.B.A. security official says that he repeatedly warned his superiors that women in the office were being sexually harassed or discriminated against, but that his concerns were ignored and that he was ultimately fired for his actions on the women’s behalf. He is suing the league for lost wages and damages.
Warren Glover, 50, was fired as a security director in July, after 10 years with the N.B.A., despite a glowing performance record for most of his tenure, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday morning in New York State Supreme Court. In the suit, Glover accuses senior N.B.A. security officials of creating a “hostile work environment” in which he was “demeaned,” “treated differently from other employees” and denied promotions because of his willingness to speak out.
Glover says he witnessed several disturbing incidents, including a senior security official making sexual advances toward a female colleague, then demeaning her publicly when she rejected him. One secretary quit when her boss forced her to photocopy lude materials for a presentation to NBA players.
But Glover says it was his cooperation with a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bernard Tolbert, who was then the league’s senior vice president for security, that ultimately led to his ouster. The woman reportedly received a large settlement, and Tolbert told him, “It’s all your fault. You testified for your girl.”
Tolbert and Gregory Robinson, the senior director of security, also failed to act when Glover relayed sexual harassment complaints by two women against the same official. According to the suit, Tolbert even “delivered a thinly veiled threat” that Glover would be fired if he told the women that their peers had experienced the same treatment. Glover expressed his concern to Joel Litvin, the NBA’s president for league operations, but they fell on deaf ears.
This is not the first time the NBA has been under fire for enabling a culture of rampant sexual misconduct. In 2007, Anucha Browne Sanders, a former Knicks executive, received a $11.5 million settlement in her suit against Madison Square Garden and coach Isaiah Thomas. She said she was fired from her job for pursuing a sexual harassment case against Thomas.
Glover’s attorny, Randy McLaughlin commented, “I think there’s a culture of misogyny in this association…and it’s tolerated and condoned at the higher levels. Because there’s nothing being done.”