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Why Tom Brady Can Sue His Boss, But You Can’t

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2016 | Employment Law

Are you allowed to sue your boss after you get suspended from work? Of course not. But Tom Brady can, in part, because he’s part of a union.

After the deflategate investigation that found Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady was “generally aware” of tampering with the game balls, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a four-game suspension for Brady. In turn, Brady sued, saying he had no notice of potential punishments, and that past precedent would allow for a fine, but not a suspension. The judge in the case agreed with Brady.

In large part, Brady has been able to bring his case because he’s part of a union. Ordinary employees can be fired for just about any reason or even no reason at all under at-will employment. Most states are at-will employment states, including West Virginia. However, union employees can only be fired for just cause, which means a good reason for which the employer has documentation supporting it.

Discrimination laws do prevent people from being fired specifically for race, nationality, age, sex, or disability, but you have to be willing to bring a case and able to prove a pattern of discrimination to benefit. Some states have also enacted legislation protecting LGBT employees, however, in most of the country you can be fired from your job for being gay, including in West Virginia.

If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.

Our attorneys have more than 40 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304-523-8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.