Changes will be coming to the workplace culture of the New York Mets, according to a letter from owner Steve Cohen to team employees.
Among the biggest shifts will be changes to the team’s legal and human resources departments.
David Cohen and Holly Lindvall, two longtime employees of the organization in charge of the legal and human resource teams respectively, will step down and be replaced by people appointed by Steve Cohen.
David Cohen, the team’s executive vice president & general counsel, has been with the organization since 1995. Lindvall joined the Mets in 2013 and had served as senior vice president, Human Resources & Diversity since 2018.
“David Cohen and Holly Lindvall have dedicated significant time and effort to The Mets, and I thank them for their many years of service,” Cohen said in the letter. “They have both agreed to stay on during a transition period while we conduct searches to fill these important roles.”
The letter by Cohen revealed the completion of a three-month investigation into the team’s workplace culture. More than 80 current and former Mets employees were interviewed by WilmerHale, a New York-based law firm.
The Mets have had multiple reports in recent months that have questioned the organization’s workplace environment and hiring practices. In January, new team general manager Jarred Porter was fired following reports of harassment that included explicit text messages to a reporter when Porter worked in the front office of the Chicago Cubs.
In February, a report about former Mets manager Mickey Callaway indicated inappropriate conduct with at least five women in sports media. Later in February, hitting performance coordinator Ryan Ellis was fired for sexual harassment accusations that dated back to 2018.
An April report by The Athletic spoke to former team employees, including one ex-employee quoted in the piece saying they were all “pawns in this toxic workplace.”
Among the changes Cohen announced was expanded communication and transparency with employees, a practice he says the organization has already been expanding in recent months. Departments are also asked to establish regular office hours to share concerns or ideas.
In addition, Cohen announced numerous changes to policies and practices, including expanding “the scope of our anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy to emphasize the overarching value of a safe and respectful workplace.”
The team will revise conduct policies that include bullying “even if that conduct falls short of violating the law”, the letter reads. The team will also expand the its Non-Fraternization, Dating and Romantic Relationships Policy to clarify prohibited relationships between members of the organization, as well as between employees and people who interact with the organization, including the media.
The team will also, as stated in the letter, “strengthen our processes for investigating workplace issues, including through enhanced training for our people on how to conduct investigations involving allegations of sexual harassment/misconduct and discrimination.”
Cohen’s letter also urged that legal and human relations departments will need to respond to complaints in a timely fashion and that the team “will not tolerate retaliation against anyone who raises concerns or participates in an investigation.”