A longtime phoenix alone According to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, the employee reportedly sent a resignation email to more than a dozen of the team-owned group, detailing claims of bullying and revenge by the leadership after sharing concerns about equity. gender and misconduct in the franchise.
Melissa Fender Panagiotakopoulos, who had worked for Phoenix since August 2007, sent the email to 16 members who were “key stakeholders” which included former Suns majority owner and WNBA Mercury owner Robert Sarver, asking to the organization to repair what it has labeled as unsafe and misogynist culture in the workplace.
Panagiotakopoulos shared a list of allegations in his resignation that explain the “culture” and “character” of the leadership, according to documents obtained by ESPN. Panagiotakopoulos felt the stakeholder group could “influence positive change”.
Beck: Robert Sarver is the hardest test ever made by the NBA
Panagiotakopoulos ‘resignation came during the NBA’s investigation of Sarver and the Suns’ workplace culture. The league’s research began in November after ESPN released a story detailing extensive accounts of alleged racism, misogyny, and verbally abusive behavior by Sarver, who served in his role for 17 years. He denied most of the allegations in ESPN’s early history.
However, Panagiotakopoulos did not refer directly to Sarver or the names of individual employees within the team’s leadership, according to ESPN.
In her email, Panagiotakopoulos, who recently served as Senior Premium Experience Manager, said there were “conflicts of interest with managers’ ability to receive commissions, surprise deals, review suite lease terms to fill. their pockets and operate differently than the rest of the sales organization without truly consistent systems or oversight, “for ESPN.
He also cited claims of gender injustice and prejudice within the franchise, wondering why “she had been the only mother” in the team’s sales organization “for the past 15 years” and the potential for “some males to get paid more. in equivalent roles “then the females.
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When it came to Suns’ HR department, Panagiotakopoulos said the unit lacked relevance and inability to “exert influence over C-Suites: lack of follow-up, ability to resolve conflicts or real concern for well-being. of employees, “according to his email. According to ESPN, before stepping down, Panagiotakopoulos contacted the department in a note on November 10, less than a week after ESPN’s initial story about the Sarver allegations.
In the November note, Panagiotakopoulos described herself as a “working mother” who wanted the same “flexibility” as her male counterparts to be paid at a “higher rate” and access to “work from home”. However, she was denied that opportunity.
“Over the course of many years, it has become clear to me that the Suns organization does not place equal value on developing women in its workforce, or even ensuring that they are treated the same as their male counterparts,” she wrote. in the note.
While Phoenix was a firm favorite to earn another trip to this year’s NBA Finals, Panagiotakopoulos shared that the franchise was in a very “dysfunctional” position.
From Panagiotakopoulos’ “confidential interaction with senior management” in November, he claims to have witnessed “consistent retaliation and bullying” from his direct leadership. As a result, his work has become “more intolerable and toxic than ever”.
She did not comment on ESPN’s story, but the team offered a statement to the network, saying it is “committed to creating a safe, respectful and inclusive work environment that is free from discrimination and harassment.”
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