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Goodell: NFL employees have right to positive work environment

NEW YORK -- The NFL sent a workplace-conduct update to its teams Wednesday in which Commissioner Roger Goodell emphasized the effect that improper behavior can have on others.

The memo is a reminder of the league's belief that "all employees and associates of the NFL have the right to work in a positive environment" free from all forms of harassment, intimidation and discrimination.

In response to an incident at the New York Jets' training facility in September after which female reporter Ines Sainz of TV Azteca said she felt uncomfortable in the team's locker room, the team developed a workplace-conduct program, underwritten by owner Woody Johnson. Wednesday's league memo is a follow-up on that episode.

"Each of us must fully understand just how powerful an impact our own personal behavior can have on those we work with," Goodell said, "and why the individual decisions we make within our workplace must be good ones. It is not enough to stand behind the strong values of the NFL; we must stand for them."

The memo offers guidance on the league's objectives and expectations in the workplace; what is considered sexual harassment; and explains exactly what is considered the workplace.

The objectives include:

» Providing a clear definition of sexual harassment and detailed examples of illegal and inappropriate behavior.

» Ensuring that each member of the NFL fully understands that sexual harassment and discrimination are against the law.

» Seeking to build league-wide awareness of the NFL's policies regarding sexual harassment and other discrimination.

» Providing clear and acceptable workplace-behavior guidelines for all NFL employees.

» Explaining how, when and where to report sexual harassment.

Everyone in the NFL is urged to respect co-workers and their differences and backgrounds; set high standards for professional and personal conduct; align personal standards with the same standards in the NFL; and take personal responsibility for their behavior. The memo offers a strong reminder that "whether on the field, in our communities, online, in the media and while interacting with fans each of us represents the NFL at all times."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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