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Appellate court decision favors NFL in "Deflate-gate" case

What started as a silly dispute between one millionaire and another has evolved into a titanic struggle that pits union and labor rights against business interests. At the center of this controversy is Tom Brady, the Patriot's quarterback, and Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the NFL. The "Deflate-gate" scandal centers around allegations that Mr. Brady deflated footballs used in a playoff game. It was alleged that this improved the grip on the ball and gave Mr. Brady an unfair advantage. The dispute involved scientists and lawyers from all over the country.

You may ask yourself, how does this affect employee rights? The interesting point to note is that the NFL suspended Mr. Brady without offering him any opportunity to defend himself. Mr. Brady's lawsuit evolved into an indictment of that process.

Labor activists argue that this ruling reduces an employee's rights to due process. Mr. Goodell claimed that it was within his purview as Commissioner to deal out punishment as necessary. In this case, an appellate court agreed with Mr. Goodell and upheld the initial ruling. Mr. Brady's only hope is that the Supreme Court will accept the case, but that is probably very unlikely.

Employee rights encompass more than enumerated labor codes and rules. Employees have rights under the Constitution, state laws and under their contract with their employer. If you believe that your boss violated your rights under any of those documents, then you may want to sit down with an attorney. A lawyer can review the situation and advise you on the best way to handle the dispute.

Source: Associated Press, "Tom Brady's 'Deflategate' appeal rejected by federal court," Larry Neumeister, Jimmy Golen, July 13, 2016

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