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Congress to hear about 'rampant workplace misconduct, sexual harassment' from former Washington Football employees

A roundtable discussion will happen publicly on Capitol Hill the day after the organization unveils its new name.

WASHINGTON — Members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee will host at least five former employees of the Washington Football organization for a roundtable discussion on Thursday, Feb. 3 about their experiences.

WUSA9 first reported in October 2021 that the Committee was requesting details and documents from the NFL about an internal investigation the League had concluded concerning allegations of sexual harassment and hostile work culture within Washington Football. 

The discussion will be held in person, however several of the representatives and witnesses may choose to participate remotely.

The meeting will happen the day after a highly anticipated rebrand of WFT as the organization unveils a new name.

RELATED: 'Make good on that promise' | Congress calls on NFL to produce all Washington Football investigation documents

“For more than twenty years, employees of the Washington Football Team were subjected to sexual harassment, verbal abuse, and other misconduct,” said Committee Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) in a statement. “It is becoming increasingly clear that not only did the team fail to protect employees, but the NFL went to great lengths to prevent the truth about this toxic work environment from coming to light."

Witnesses will not provide sworn testimony during the meeting, thus the designation of a "roundtable discussion" as opposed to a "hearing."

"These victims are bravely coming forward with their stories, sharing details of despicable abuse in their workplace," said Committee member Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) in a statement. "The WFT and NFL had a responsibility to protect these employees, and they failed. This Committee will do everything in its power to protect employees at the WFT and beyond.”

RELATED: ‘We are in the home stretch’ | Washington Football Team to announce new name next month

Additional witnesses are expected to be announced by the Committee, but so far there are five former employees listed who will provide public testimony:

  • Emily Applegate: Former Marketing Coordinator, Premium Client Services Coordinator, Ticket Sales Representative
  • Melanie Coburn: Former Director of Marketing, Marketing Coordinator, Cheerleader 
  • Rachel Engleson: Former Director of Marketing and Client Relations, Director of Client Services, Manager of Premium Client Services, Customer Service Representative, Intern
  • Ana Nunez: Former Coordinator of Business Development & Client Service, Account Executive
  • Brad Baker: Former Video Production Manager, Producer

No representatives from either the NFL or Washington Football Team were listed as potential witnesses. 

Responding to a WUSA9 query in November of 2021, an NFL spokesman responded to the allegation the League was not cooperating with the House Oversight Committee investigation.

"The NFL on Thursday submitted responses to the questions in the Committee’s October 21 letter. As we have discussed with the Committee, we are in the process of identifying responsive documents while working through issues of privilege and anonymity promised to participants in the investigation," said an NFL spokesman via email.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has previously said the NFL did release a summary of the investigation and that Washington owner Daniel Snyder has not been allowed to handle any of the day-to-day operations of the franchise since July, when he promoted his wife, Tanya Snyder, to be co-CEO. The NFL also fined the team $10 million. 

“I do think he has been held accountable and the organization has been held accountable,” Goodell said. 

Multiple former WFT employees who participated in the NFL's investigation said they were not promised security, privacy or anonymity when they participated, and in a letter released by their attorneys, they wrote they participated in the NFL's query "with the expectation both they and the public would be provided with the findings."

"The Jon Gruden email leak, all the way up until Congressional response to the NFL not producing the documents is giving me hope," said Melanie Coburn, who worked for the WFT from 1997-2011, and will appear before the Committee. "It's encouraging me to keep going forward, to keep pushing forward. To keep sharing the stories and I think if we continue sharing the stories I think change will come."

"When you stand up and you know what's right, it takes a while. It takes a lot of people behind you to do it. But I do believe that in the best interest of everyone it has to come out and it will come out," said longtime WFT employee Ana Nunez in November.

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