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Mets to replace heads of team's legal and HR departments after audit of franchise's culture

Mets owner Steve Cohen attends a news conference

Mets owner Steve Cohen attends a news conference at a COVID-19 vaccination site at Citi Field on Feb. 10. Credit: AP/Mary Altaffer

Mets owner Steve Cohen will be replacing the heads of the team’s legal and human resources departments as a result of an audit of the franchise’s culture — a process conducted by law firm WilmerHale after a number of high-profile instances of inappropriate behavior.

David Cohen, general counsel, and Holly Lindvall, senior vice president of human resources and diversity, will be phased out and replaced by a team of Steve Cohen’s choosing, the owner announced in a staff-wide email. This is part of a larger initiative meant to address some of the issues WilmerHale uncovered after interviewing 82 current and former employees and 25% of the Mets’ full-time staff.

Changes will include expanding the scope of the organization’s anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies, streamlining methods for employees to report concerns, and ensuring that the legal and human resources departments conduct transparent, timely investigations of possible issues.

They’ll also expand the "non-fraternization, dating, and romantic relationships policy" as it relates to people who work for the Mets, those who work with Major League Baseball and those who cover the team.

 

Steve Cohen added that there will be zero tolerance for those who look to retaliate against workers who report an issue or concern. The Mets also will hold organizationwide and departmentwide "town halls" and Q&As.

Additionally, the organization will look to expand efforts to promote diversity in hiring, "including the executive leadership level," the memo said. The letter didn’t specify how the Mets intend to do this.

"All employees will have the opportunity to provide honest feedback about our managers and department leaders through upward evaluations," the letter read. "I believe that management accountability is an important part of a productive and healthy culture."

All this comes as a result of at least three well-publicized instances of harassment or impropriety. Former manager Mickey Callaway is serving a two-year suspension from baseball for sexually suggestive texts he sent to a number of female reporters during his time with Cleveland and the Mets. Former general manager Jared Porter was terminated after it was uncovered that he sent multiple explicit texts and an unsolicited photo to a female reporter in 2016 while with the Cubs.

In April, The Athletic reported on several instances of alleged bad behavior in the Mets’ workplace, including a former employee who called workers there "pawns in a toxic workplace environment."

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