An employee within the Phoenix Suns resigned last month alleging a toxic work environment after she raised concerns about certain problems within the organization. Melissa Fender Panagiotakopoulos said that she was subject to bullying and retaliation from superiors causing her to leave the team’s back office.

Panagiotakopoulos, sent her resignation email to ownership on May 20 highlighting the toxic and misogynistic workplace culture. Majority owner Robert Server was among the group. Panagiotakopoulos wrote that she was sending it to “key stakeholders” to “make certain this group can influence positive change.”

Her most recent position within the organization was senior premium experience manager, responsible for generating revenue from high-level clientele. She cited a number of issues in her email, such as conflicts of interest, gender discrimination and HR issues.

Panagiotakopoulos said there were “inherent conflicts of interest with managers’ ability to receive commissions, cherry-pick deals, revise suite lease terms to line their own pockets, and operate in a different manner than the rest of the sales organization with no true consistent systems or oversight.”

She also questioned the apparent discrepancies in pay and gender equality. “Is it a coincidence that I have been the only mother in the entire sales organization for the last 15 years? Is it because certain males were being paid more in equivalent roles? As a working mother, when I requested the same flexibility, I was denied,” she wrote. “I have observed these kinds of inequities throughout the Suns organization, and I have personally experienced the kind of gender-based misconduct described in recent media reports. And when I attempted to share my concerns with HR and leadership (including individuals at the highest level), I was dismissed – and once was even told to ‘take a cold shower.'”

The Suns Legacy Partners said in a statement that they condemn any employee retaliation. “We have been made aware of allegations by a former employee and are investigating them, consistent with our Respect in the Workplace Policy, 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.”

This story came to light in the midst of an NBA investigation into the Phoenix Suns organization and Sarver, after allegations of racism and misogyny and a hostile workplace during Sarver’s ownership tenure surfaced in November.

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