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Former NHL Star Fired from NBC After Sexual Comments About Co-Workers

Mar 10 | 2020  by

By Brandon Grysko of Fausone Bohn, LLP posted in Employment Law on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

Former NHL player Jeremy Roenick will not return to NBC Sports, he confirmed last month via Twitter. Roenick played 20 seasons in the NHL before joining NBC Sports as an analyst. On December 23rd, he was suspended without pay for inappropriate comments made about coworkers while appearing as a guest on the popular Barstool Sports podcast, “Spittin Chiclets.”

While on the podcast, Roenick discussed a vacation he took with his wife and co-analyst Kathryn Tappen. He joked about the three of them being involved in a relationship together. Later on, he called co-host Patrick Sharp “so beautiful” and said “It’s good to have a beautiful face that talks well, that knows the game because it’s totally opposite when me and Anson get on there” referencing another co-host’s physical appearance. Although Roenick was not “on the clock” when he made those comments, his employer still terminated his contract. This shows that, in the digital age, employers are increasingly sensitive to the off-duty conduct of their employees, especially with conduct that could impact corporate image.

Although Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 already prohibits sexual harassment and sex-based discrimination, the #MeToo movement has caused an uptick in the attention paid to sex-based comments. Employers are encouraged to have workplace policies that address sexual harassment, sex-based comments, and appropriate off-the-clock behavior. In addition, employers may want to provide training to employees periodically to reinforce acceptable standards of conduct.

If you have any questions regarding sexual harassment in the workplace or disciplining employees for off-duty conduct, contact an attorney knowledgeable in business and employment law who can guide your policies and practices. Contact Brandon Grysko at  248-912-3240 or online at www.fb-firm.com.