“Deflate-Gate” Decision Implicates Larger Employee Rights

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Denis ZilberbergAugust 16, 2017Employee Rights

Yes, this story is as ridiculous as it sounds. For those of you that do not remember, Tom Brady, the Patriot’s star quarterback, was suspended by the NFL for four games because league officials determined that he played a role in having footballs deflated slightly to facilitate more effective grip. It was deemed this was against the rules, and therefore he was punished. Tom Brady appealed the decision, and the case took on a life of its own after.

The appellate court rejected an appeal by Mr. Brady to re-try the case. The result left the original ruling place which found that Roger Goodell acted within his powers as NFL Commissioner when he suspended Mr. Brady.

It is feared that this decision will affirm the wide-ranging powers that Mr. Goodell asserted to punish Mr. Brady. The legal battle eventually pitted labor rights and union activists against business interests. Mr. Goodell punished Mr. Brady without offering Mr. Brady any opportunity of due process. It is feared that this ruling will embolden other employers to disregard similar union rights.

Employers must respect all of your rights, not just the ones that are convenient. Many of your rights are enshrined in an employee handbook or contract. If your agreement requires fair treatment, then your employer must conform to the requirements. It might be a hearing or an opportunity for you to present your case. If your organization tries to punish you without respecting this requirement, then you may want to speak to an attorney. A lawyer can go over the situation and help enforce your rights.


Associated Press, “Tom Brady’s ‘Deflategate’ appeal rejected by federal court,” Larry Neumeister, Jimmy Golen, July 13, 2016



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