Phoenix Suns female employee resigns; Cites allegations of bullying, workplace misconduct and gender discrimination

A Phoenix Suns employee tendered her resignation following inappropriate experiences within the franchise.

Melissa Fender Panagiotakopoulos, a long-time member of the club, called it quits after 15 years of collaboration with the Suns (h/t ESPN’s Baxter Holmes). She alleged being the target of bullying amongst high-ranking team officials after complaining on the club’s gender equity concerns and workplace misconduct.

Panagiotakopoulos delivered a workplace email last May 20th to 16 members of Phoenix ownership group, including the embattled majority owner Robert Sarver, challenging them to address the organization’s “toxic and misogynistic culture.”

In the e-letter she sent, Panagiotakopoulos gave claims against the ball club like conflicts of interest with managers’ ability to receive commissions, gender discrimination, and the Suns human resources department’s ability to stay relevant and solve employees’ conflict.

She has noted that “each of these points create the culture and make up the character of our leadership.”

“We have been made aware of allegations by a former employee and are investigating them, consistent with our Respect in the Workplace Policy,” the Suns Legacy Partners organization said in a statement, via ESPN. “The Phoenix Suns are committed to creating a safe, respectful, and inclusive work environment free of discrimination and harassment, and we do not tolerate retaliation for the reporting of alleged misconduct.”

Amid the emergence of Suns as a title contender, Panagiotakopoulos dismissed its current basketball success and called the organization has “never been more dysfunctional, and the culture is rapidly eroding.”

This recent departure of Panagiotakopoulos has come up amid the ongoing investigation on Sarver’s alleged misogynism, racism and workplace misconduct as the head owner of the club for 17 years.

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