6 Total Updates since December 21, 2011
12 months ago Update 0 comments
A report form the San Jose Mercury News is reporting that the Golden State Warriors have settled their sexual harassment lawsuit against them from a former employee involving former player Monta Ellis.
Erika Smith, a former community relations director for the team, agreed to a deal that ended litigation of a case in which she claimed, among other things, that Monta Ellis sent her a picture of his penis in a text message.
Smith was seeking monetary damages in the lawsuit in which she also claimed that team owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber fostered an improper sexual atmosphere within the organization and attempted to cover up Ellis' actions.
Details of the settlement agreement were not revealed Thursday as Smith's attorney said he was not allowed to discuss details. Neither team representatives nor Ellis' agent could be reached for comment.
"All I am allowed to say is the case is dismissed; you have to read into that what you want," said Burton Boltuch, Smith's attorney. "When you settle a case, you always dismiss it."
Boltuch said discussions with team attorneys about the lawsuit began soon after Ellis was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in March.
Ownership blamed Smith for initiating the texts with Ellis, offering her a cash payment to resign, she claimed. It was noted in the lawsuit that she refused and was fired several months later after she notified team management that a reporter had called her asking questions about the text messages.
I'm sure everyone involved is glad that this is over.
For more on the Warriors head over to Golden State of Mind.
over 1 year ago Update 0 comments
The legal headache for Joe Lacob and the Golden State Warriors is apparently getting worse.
According to SLAM Online, the Golden State Warriors are now facing more allegations of sexual harassment since majority owner Joe Lacob took ever in November on 2010.
SLAM notes that the previous director of the Warrior Girls, the team's cheer squad, is one of the new accusers. Sources have also told SLAM that the director of the team's cheerleading squad left due to a provocative communications involving a member of the Warriors' executive staff. Sources also say other former employees have already settled sexual harassment cases since Lacob took the reigns.
The accuser also states that the Warrior Girls had been asked to participate in non-Warriors events at private locations. SLAM claims to have witnessed Joe Lacob's son Kirk, the Warriors Director of Basketball Operations, asking the former cheerleading squad director to 'ensure the presence' of several Warrior Girls at a private party he was holding in San Francisco after a night game at Oracle. SLAM sources confirmed that some members of the cheerleading squad were at the party.
Erika Smith, a former Warriors employee who is now suing the team, stated in her complaint last week that along with her concerns with Monta Ellis, cited that Joe Lacob used cheerleaders to "perform" for his "golfing friends" as well as "condoned, encouraged, and/or ratified several other instances of sexual harassment."
To keep up with the Warriors legal troubles, make sure to follow this StoryStream.
over 1 year ago Commentary 0 commentsContinue
over 1 year ago Update 0 comments
The Golden State Warriors have responded to the accusations levied by former director of community relations Erika Smith against Monta Ellis claiming sexual harassment. Tim Kawakami received this statement from Warriors team president and COO Rick Welts.
The interesting thing about this statement is that the Warriors did admit a relationship existed between Ellis and the former employee; considering Monta was married at the time the accusations were made, this can hardly reflect well on him. The fact that a relationship did exist will cast further aspersions on Ellis and his personal character.
Of course, an extramarital affair is not a crime, and the Warriors weren't about to concede that their star guard had committed a crime of any sort. The Warriors were clear that nothing happened beyond the relationship, and that they believed that anything that happened between the two was consensual.
While Golden State did their best to wash their hands of this lawsuit, it doesn't really come close to exonerating Ellis, and portrays him in an unflattering light. Expect this case to take many new turns over the upcoming weeks.
To discuss the Ellis suit with Warriors fans, head to Golden State of Mind.
over 1 year ago Update 0 comments
On Wednesday morning, former Golden State Warriors director of community relations Erika Smith filed a lawsuit against the Golden in the Alameda County Courthouse. The lawsuit claimed Monta Ellis engaged in repeated sexual harassment of Smith and the Warriors condoned the activity and attempted to cover it up.
The lawsuit named Ellis, Golden State Warriors LLC, owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, GM Larry Riley, HR executive director Erika Brown and Does 1 through 40. The Does allow Smith to add additional individuals that were involved. Smith believes there were numerous individuals involved in the cover-up and not all their names are known at this point. Does are listed so that when an additional investigation is conducted, the suit can be amended to include new names.
You can read through the lawsuit at the Alameda County Courthouse website. Click on Case Summary and enter in the case number (RG11609244) and you can read through all the dirty details as they come out.
The basic details of her own alleged sexual harassment are pretty straightforward. Smith claims Monta Ellis sent her numerous texts that created a hostile work environment. She claims he sent her texts with things like "I want to be with you" and "Hey Sexy." The harassment is reported to have started around November 17, 2010 and continued for at least two months.
Smith claims that when initially tried to reject his advances, Ellis reportedly went to the Warriors and complained about her work. Her work as community relations director involved dealing with the players in a variety of events that they do with the Bay Area community. The Warriors reportedly issued her a disciplinary warning letter, although Smith claims Ellis made this up.
The suit alleges that Monta Ellis' wife, Juanika Ellis, called Smith and informed her she knew of the texts that were going on. Juanika reportedly went to the Warriors and told them to either fire Smith or have her no longer work events involving Monta. The suit claims that Smith was subsequently removed from a variety of events involving Ellis and other players. She claims this was retaliation and part of the cover up.
The Warriors reportedly asked her to resign in February of 2011, offering her a cash settlement. She refused, believing this was an attempt at a bribe or hush money. On July 25, 2011 she received a text from a newspaper reporter asking if Ellis was stalking her. She did not confirm that anything occurred and she informed the Warriors of the text. On August 5, she was terminated by the Warriors who claimed the team no longer needed a Director of Community Relations.
The suit also alleges sexual harassment in the work place beyond just Smith's own. For example, it points to two specific instances that allegedly created a hostile work environment and was encouraged by Warriors executives:
1. Requiring Warrior Girls perform for personal enjoyment of Lacob and his golfing friends
2. Failure to prevent, investigate, and/or remedy sexual harassment by a VP that occurred in June/July 2011
If this case goes to trial, numerous unsavory details could emerge, causing a PR nightmare for the Warriors.
The lawsuit includes 14 causes of action:
1. Violation of Government Code (Harassment and HWE)
2. Violation of Government Code (Failure to Prevent Harassment)
3. Violation of Government Code (Retaliation)
4. Violation of Government Code (Wrongful Termination)
5. Wrongful termination in Violation of Public Policy
6. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
7. Violation of Labor Code (Meal Periods)
8. Violation of Labor Code (Rest Periods)
9. Violation of Labor Code (Failure to Pay Wages)
10. Violation of Labor Code (Failure to Pay Wages Due and Owing)
11. Violation of Labor Code (Itemized Wage Statements)
12. Unfair Business Practices - B & P Code Sections 17200 et seq.
We'll have a more specific breakdown of each cause of action. Having spent some time working in professional sports, c/a 7 through 11 are actually a bit more interesting than the sexual harassment portion of the suit. The dirty details are in the harassment, but 7 through 11 cover something that exists throughout sports.
Smith's suit is going after wages she believes she should have been paid for overtime hours she worked during her time with the Warriors. She worked numerous events including games and charity events. She was classified as an exempt employee and was not paid overtime even though she had numerous non-exempt duties.
Front office employees with professional sports organizations put in crazy hours during the season. Although there are plenty of hourly employees within an organization, many salaried employees work well in excess of 40 hours per week during a given season. I do not believe there has been any sort of lawsuit on this matter, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
over 1 year ago Update 0 comments
Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis is reportedly about to be facing a sexual harassment lawsuit courtesy of a former employee of the team. The lawsuit will reportedly be filed on Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court and will name several executives and employees of the Warriors. The suit will reportedly include Governor and CEO Joe Lacob, Alternate Governor Peter Guber, General Manager Larry Riley and Executive Director of Human Resources Erika Brown.
The plaintiff's attorney, Burton Boltuch, sent out an email regarding the lawsuit in which he claimed Ellis sent his client at least one sexually explicit photograph and dozens of unwanted texts over the course of two months starting late last year. The plaintiff was reportedly asked to resign before she was fired.
However this plays out, it puts the Warriors in a tough position even if the suit proves groundless. The New York Knicks went through an embarrassing sexual harassment lawsuit four years ago and it took some time to remove the PR stain. The lawsuit is only just being filed so there is still a lot of information to come.