Some folks in San Diego may have watched the video that was made public last week of a basketball coach at Rutgers University abusing players during practices. Mike Rice, the coach, was fired after the video was made public. And now, another former employee is suing Rutgers for wrongful termination and retaliation.
Former NBA player Eric Murdock filed the lawsuit against the school last week for failing to protect his rights when he informed the school of Rice’s actions toward players during basketball practices. Murdock was hired in 2010 as the director of player development for the school’s basketball program. After witnessing Rice’s abusive behavior, Murdock informed the school about how players were being mistreated. Instead of firing Rice, the school decided that it would not renew Murdock’s contract.
Murdock is now pursuing a whistle-blower lawsuit against Rutgers for retaliating against him after he revealed how Rice was treating players. Murdock showed the school videos that had been taken during practices of Rice throwing basketballs at players, calling players offensive names, and hitting players when they made mistakes during practices. According to reports, Rice was suspended for a few games, but he wasn’t fired until last week when footage of his actions was made public.
Murdock said that he has chosen to take legal action against the school because the school violated his rights as an employee. He believes that the school mishandled his complaints, and now he wants to make sure that his rights remain protected for trying to protect the basketball players who were harmed by their coach’s misconduct.
Whistle-blower claims can be very litigious, especially when employers try to do everything possible to protect their reputations. In an effort to prevent employers from harming wronged workers even further, employees who do choose to pursue whistle-blower and wrongful termination claims against their employers will want to make sure they have an attorney on their side to defend their rights every step of the way.
Source: The Daily Journal, “Rutgers whistle-blower sues,” April 5, 2013