On July 22, 2020, Geoff Garinther was quoted in The Washington Post regarding the internal investigation of the Washington NFL team's workplace culture following the alleged sexual harassment of 15 women employees.
According to the article, owner Daniel Snyder hired attorney Beth Wilkinson and her firm, Wilkinson Walsh, to investigate the franchise, write a report, and make recommendations. While the arrangement presents an apparent conflict, lawyers familiar with this kind of work described safeguards that legitimize the process and expressed confidence that a lawyer of Wilkinson's stature would not have accepted the job without ensuring independence.
"Somebody with Beth Wilkinson's sterling reputation is not going to risk that by doing what others would consider a whitewash," said Garinther. "You don't hire a Beth Wilkinson if you already know the answer you want."
One issue will be how the investigation can handle nondisclosure agreements. If Washington's NDAs do not include such language and the team opts against releasing employees from NDAs, then Snyder would effectively be breaking his vow not to limit the investigation. If Wilkinson is given the latitude promised her, Snyder's inclusion in her final report would be a possibility. If done properly, corporate leaders are not immune to findings. While Snyder has not been accused, his role in setting culture will be examined.
"It would not be unusual for an organization that hires a firm to do an independent investigation to hear criticism about the tone set at the top of the organization," Garinther said.