LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A former director for NFL Enterprises LLC sued the organization for age and gender discrimination Monday , alleging "pervasive sexism" in the workplace and a "boys' club" mentality among male peers, while attributing her 2022 layoff to retaliation for her complaints.
Jennifer Love's Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit also alleges retaliation, hostile work environment and failure to prevent and/or remedy discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliation. She seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
NFL spokesman Alex Riethmiller said the league had no comment on the suit.
Love was hired by the NFL in June 2003 and together with coordinating producer Eric Weinberger and president and CEO Steve Bornstein, the trio launched what was then known as NFL Network and is now known as NFL Media Group, the suit states.
"With Love's hard work and leadership, NFL Media Group grew to become the successful media platform that it is today," according to the suit.
In 2010, NFL promoted Love to vice president and coordinating director in recognition of the high level of work she performed at the NFL Media Group, the same year David Shaw was brought aboard as vice president of media operations, the suit states.
In 2011, the league hired Mark Quenzel as senior vice president of programming and production.
"Shaw and Quenzel quickly gained reputations among NFL employees as misogynist men who refused to recognize or value female employees-- especially female employees with authority like Love," the suit states.
Shaw, Quenzel and NFL Properties LLC also are defendants in the suit. The two male executives made it clear that they did not want to have anything to do with Love and would not talk to her unless necessary and would not acknowledge her presence at meetings, the suit states. At leadership meetings, in production trucks and in control rooms, Quenzel said "hello" to everyone except for Love, who was often the only woman in the room, according to the suit.
Still, NFL Media Group, with Love's help, expanded from about 11.5 million homes in 2003 to more than 72 million homes by 2013, the suit states. Even when Quenzel subsequently became Love's direct supervisor, he would not acknowledge her and excluded her from NFL Media Group's senior-level content meetings and planning meetings in which she had previously been included, the suit alleges.
In 2018, Love reported to human resources that the NFL had an issue with "pervasive sexism" in the workplace and had a "boys' club" mentality, citing how a less qualified man was promoted over her, but no one followed up on her complaints, the plaintiff alleges.
"Instead, NFL continued to permit Quenzel and Shaw to discriminate against women and Love with impunity and to treat Love with disrespect and disregard in front of her peers," the suit states.
In early 2022, Love made comments via Bleacher Report that "We've only scratched the surface" of the problem of discrimination at NFL and "have a long way to go," remarks of which the NFL was aware, according to the suit.
Love attended what she believed was to be a meeting about in March 2022 via zoom and was "shocked" to hear Quenzel and a human resources employee tell her that her position at NFL was being eliminated, according to the suit, which further states that neither person thanked her for her 19 years of service. Love maintains she lost her job in retaliation for her complaints.
Quenzel replaced Love with a much younger female employee whom the plaintiff herself had mentored and trained, the suit states.