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View Full Version : Does anyone here actually know what 'At-Will' means?


LSUALUM99
08-13-2007, 11:00 PM
Lots of people on here who seem to think they know anything about the law keep saying the NFL can't do this or can't do that. The NFL will get sued for this or that as it pertains to suspending players or denying reinstatement to the NFL.

Here's a legal definition for you people that seem to think you know what the NFL can and can't do:

"If you are employed at will, your employer does not need good cause to fire you. In every state but Montana (which protects employees who have completed an initial "probationary period" from being fired without cause), employers are free to adopt at-will employment policies, and many of them have. In fact, unless your employer gives some clear indication that it will only fire employees for good cause, the law presumes that you are employed at will"

The NFL can suspend, deny reinstatment, and/or otherwise deny employment to any person as long as it is not based on a protected category (such as Race, Religion, Sex, etc). Behavior is NOT a protected category.

Get over yourselves and the legal arguments you are trying to make. There is no legal reason what so ever that prevents the NFL from suspending or in effect 'firing' any players based on behavior.

Now, to say you disagree in principle to the actions of the commissioner is a valid discussion based on your opinion but don't shroud it in a veil of 'fact'.

TheChampIsHere
08-14-2007, 12:19 AM
so do you know if the NFL actually has an at-will policy? Its not just in Montana where they have that kind of policy you described, I know I had a job with the same exact thing where once I completed a 3 month period if they decided to keep me beyond that, they wouldnt be able to just fire me for any reason and im in California.

BigDawg819
08-14-2007, 12:53 AM
Lots of people on here who seem to think they know anything about the law keep saying the NFL can't do this or can't do that. The NFL will get sued for this or that as it pertains to suspending players or denying reinstatement to the NFL.

Here's a legal definition for you people that seem to think you know what the NFL can and can't do:

"If you are employed at will, your employer does not need good cause to fire you. In every state but Montana (which protects employees who have completed an initial "probationary period" from being fired without cause), employers are free to adopt at-will employment policies, and many of them have. In fact, unless your employer gives some clear indication that it will only fire employees for good cause, the law presumes that you are employed at will"



The NFL can suspend, deny reinstatment, and/or otherwise deny employment to any person as long as it is not based on a protected category (such as Race, Religion, Sex, etc). Behavior is NOT a protected category.

Get over yourselves and the legal arguments you are trying to make. There is no legal reason what so ever that prevents the NFL from suspending or in effect 'firing' any players based on behavior.

Now, to say you disagree in principle to the actions of the commissioner is a valid discussion based on your opinion but don't shroud it in a veil of 'fact'.


You forget about the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Players Union, but nice try.

TheChampIsHere
08-14-2007, 01:18 AM
You forget about the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Players Union, but nice try.

exactly....just because such a thing as at-will employment exists doesnt mean it applies to this situation. the NFL obviously would never get away with just suspending players at a wym with no good reason

Moses
08-14-2007, 07:58 AM
provide proof. either find the clause in the union agreement that suggests the NFL is somehow different from every other employer on earth, or find where they suggest they do not offer at will employment. until then, all this is is a bunch of high school kids whining about how something that isn't fair can't possibly be true.

njx9...

If one were to do even surface-level research concerning at-will employment you would know one of the most notable exceptions to it is the CBA. A CBA overrules "at-will employment". Here is some reading on it if you like: http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2001/01/art1full.pdf

The NFLPA has put safeguards into the CBA to prevent their players from being wrongfully dismissed or punished. These overrule "at-will employment". Frankly, I'm finding it a bit annoying that you continue to demean users of this site who are bringing up valid and correct points that counter yours which are unfounded and incorrect.

Vikings4ever
08-14-2007, 10:08 AM
exactly....just because such a thing as at-will employment exists doesnt mean it applies to this situation. the NFL obviously would never get away with just suspending players at a wym with no good reason

Conduct detrimental (sp?) to the team/league.

Gets plenty of players suspended.

bigbluedefense
08-14-2007, 11:12 AM
Lots of people on here who seem to think they know anything about the law keep saying the NFL can't do this or can't do that. The NFL will get sued for this or that as it pertains to suspending players or denying reinstatement to the NFL.

Here's a legal definition for you people that seem to think you know what the NFL can and can't do:

"If you are employed at will, your employer does not need good cause to fire you. In every state but Montana (which protects employees who have completed an initial "probationary period" from being fired without cause), employers are free to adopt at-will employment policies, and many of them have. In fact, unless your employer gives some clear indication that it will only fire employees for good cause, the law presumes that you are employed at will"

The NFL can suspend, deny reinstatment, and/or otherwise deny employment to any person as long as it is not based on a protected category (such as Race, Religion, Sex, etc). Behavior is NOT a protected category.

Get over yourselves and the legal arguments you are trying to make. There is no legal reason what so ever that prevents the NFL from suspending or in effect 'firing' any players based on behavior.

Now, to say you disagree in principle to the actions of the commissioner is a valid discussion based on your opinion but don't shroud it in a veil of 'fact'.


Unions complicate matters. The NFLPA is a union. Like any company that has employees part of a Union, if they feel that one of their fellow members was wrongfully fired, they can go on strike and paralyze your company. And thats the problem that can present itself to Goodell. Sure he can fire Vick (in simple terms), but he'll have to potentially deal with a problem with the PA, which could in a worst case scenario, strike.

DMWSackMachine
08-14-2007, 03:15 PM
lmao, this is killing my ass

TheChampIsHere
08-14-2007, 03:35 PM
provide proof. either find the clause in the union agreement that suggests the NFL is somehow different from every other employer on earth, or find where they suggest they do not offer at will employment. until then, all this is is a bunch of high school kids whining about how something that isn't fair can't possibly be true.

first off, as usual, your tone makes me wish you were in front of me so I could punch you in the face. Try not being such a demeaning asshole and stop talking down to everyone.

what was the first thing I said in this thread? I ASKED if the NFL actually had at-will employment as their policy. Im not bothering to research it simply cuz I dont feel like it and its not that important to me. But my question is very simple, do they have it. Because this thread opened with stating that at-will employment exists, not any proof that it applies to the NFL because a lot of companies do not use it. Like I was saying, when I was 18 I had a minimum wage job and I was protected from being fired at-will, so obviously just cuz it exists doesnt mean it applies to the NFL.

And what I mean with the NFL would never get away with just firing people with no reason whenever they wanted is just think about what would happen. What if the NFL decided to, say, cut loose Peyton Manning? The players union would go crazy, the media would bury the NFL, protests would break, even if they can legally do it, which I dont know if they can, they would get buried, theyd loose fans, Mark Cuban would start his league up and people would want to go there because they dont want to play in the NFL if theyre unfairly treated, Goodell would probably be removed...a lot of if not all of those things would happen... Even if it wasnt a player as high-profile as Peyton but a player who they have no reason to suspend, it would still be a lot of the same results. The NFL is under the public microscope and they cant just do whatever they want even if they can legally do it, the public outcry would be too much for them.

Now none of this really applies to the Michael Vick case because they have a good enough reason to suspend him and hes probably gonna be going to jail anyways. But just in general the NFL cant just get away with whatever they want, even if they arent legal prohibited from doing so (again, I dont know if they are or not), but market forces and things of that nature check them.

adschofield
08-14-2007, 03:38 PM
Lots of people on here who seem to think they know anything about the law keep saying the NFL can't do this or can't do that. The NFL will get sued for this or that as it pertains to suspending players or denying reinstatement to the NFL.

Here's a legal definition for you people that seem to think you know what the NFL can and can't do:

"If you are employed at will, your employer does not need good cause to fire you. In every state but Montana (which protects employees who have completed an initial "probationary period" from being fired without cause), employers are free to adopt at-will employment policies, and many of them have. In fact, unless your employer gives some clear indication that it will only fire employees for good cause, the law presumes that you are employed at will"

The NFL can suspend, deny reinstatment, and/or otherwise deny employment to any person as long as it is not based on a protected category (such as Race, Religion, Sex, etc). Behavior is NOT a protected category.

Get over yourselves and the legal arguments you are trying to make. There is no legal reason what so ever that prevents the NFL from suspending or in effect 'firing' any players based on behavior.

Now, to say you disagree in principle to the actions of the commissioner is a valid discussion based on your opinion but don't shroud it in a veil of 'fact'.

Pac-Man should play in Montana

LSUALUM99
08-14-2007, 08:34 PM
Ok, let me try and break it down for everyone. I'll use bullet points to simplify matters for those of you that seem unwilling to read a post in its entirety.

1) I was commenting on whether it was ILLEGAL for the NFL to suspend a player for any reason. Clearly, at will employment does not make it illegal.

2) Every employer is understood to be an at-will employer unless specifically stating otherwise.

3) Unions do not complicate the matter from a LEGAL standpoint. They complicate the matter from the standpoint of whether they will agree with the terms of an employment contract. The UNION can decide to strike or file grievences or whatever it choses to do. This has no bearing on the NFL's LEGAL right to do hire/fire/suspend players at-will.

In conclusion, if you think suspending Mike Vick violates the CBA then that is a wholeheartedly different argument than it's ILLEGAL to suspend Mike Vick. So, stop making the issue a legal issue. The issue is possibly one that the NFLPA could bring up, but notice that the NFLPA hasn't filed a grievence on Michael Vick's behalf. It's pretty apparent that the NFLPA doesn't feel it violates the CBA. So, it's not a legal issue, and apparently it's not a CBA issue either.

Would all the High School Attorney-wannabe's please stop posting as if you have any idea what you are talking about regarding the FACTS of the issue. If you want to post your opinions and/or any 'ethical or moral' concerns then fine. But it's not a legal or CBA issue.

LSUALUM99
08-14-2007, 08:46 PM
njx9...

If one were to do even surface-level research concerning at-will employment you would know one of the most notable exceptions to it is the CBA. A CBA overrules "at-will employment". Here is some reading on it if you like: http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2001/01/art1full.pdf

The NFLPA has put safeguards into the CBA to prevent their players from being wrongfully dismissed or punished. These overrule "at-will employment". Frankly, I'm finding it a bit annoying that you continue to demean users of this site who are bringing up valid and correct points that counter yours which are unfounded and incorrect.

Well, I guess you didn't actually read the PDF file you quoted.

The CBA does not overrule 'at-will' employment. The 'notable' exception of the implied contract exception to the 'at-will' employment does not appy in this regard for two reasons. The first is that there is no implied contract for employment from the NFL to the player. The player's contract is with the Team and is not implied. It is clearly stated (with provisions for behavior and off field requirements). Second, the NFLPA has a contract with the NFL that governs the employment contract that players have with the NFL as a whole. That CBA has language that clearly states that the NFL may take disciplinary action as long as the conduct is detrimental to the NFL. This language allows for the dismissal of any player by the league commissioner. A greivance can be filed by the NFLPA, which if upheld by a third party arbitrator yet not acted upon by the NFL would allow for a legal breach of the CBA by the NFLPA, possibly without recourse. This contract however is not with an individual player but rather the NFLPA as an organization.

Moses
08-14-2007, 08:54 PM
Well, I guess you didn't actually read the PDF file you quoted.

The CBA does not overrule 'at-will' employment. The 'notable' exception of the implied contract exception to the 'at-will' employment does not appy in this regard for two reasons. The first is that there is no implied contract for employment from the NFL to the player. The player's contract is with the Team and is not implied. It is clearly stated (with provisions for behavior and off field requirements). Second, the NFLPA has a contract with the NFL that governs the employment contract that players have with the NFL as a whole. That CBA has language that clearly states that the NFL may take disciplinary action as long as the conduct is detrimental to the NFL. This language allows for the dismissal of any player by the league commissioner. A greivance can be filed by the NFLPA, which if upheld by a third party arbitrator yet not acted upon by the NFL would allow for a legal breach of the CBA by the NFLPA, possibly without recourse. This contract however is not with an individual player but rather the NFLPA as an organization.

Show me where it says that a player can be suspended for being charged with a crime.

Also, the CBA clearly overrules this "at-will employment" you are talking about. Why do you think they have it?

bigbluedefense
08-14-2007, 10:12 PM
Ok, let me try and break it down for everyone. I'll use bullet points to simplify matters for those of you that seem unwilling to read a post in its entirety.

1) I was commenting on whether it was ILLEGAL for the NFL to suspend a player for any reason. Clearly, at will employment does not make it illegal.

2) Every employer is understood to be an at-will employer unless specifically stating otherwise.

3) Unions do not complicate the matter from a LEGAL standpoint. They complicate the matter from the standpoint of whether they will agree with the terms of an employment contract. The UNION can decide to strike or file grievences or whatever it choses to do. This has no bearing on the NFL's LEGAL right to do hire/fire/suspend players at-will.

In conclusion, if you think suspending Mike Vick violates the CBA then that is a wholeheartedly different argument than it's ILLEGAL to suspend Mike Vick. So, stop making the issue a legal issue. The issue is possibly one that the NFLPA could bring up, but notice that the NFLPA hasn't filed a grievence on Michael Vick's behalf. It's pretty apparent that the NFLPA doesn't feel it violates the CBA. So, it's not a legal issue, and apparently it's not a CBA issue either.

Would all the High School Attorney-wannabe's please stop posting as if you have any idea what you are talking about regarding the FACTS of the issue. If you want to post your opinions and/or any 'ethical or moral' concerns then fine. But it's not a legal or CBA issue.


youre right. thats pretty much all there is to it.

BigDawg819
08-15-2007, 10:33 AM
All this thread really is, is just another "Goddell should suspend Mike Vick" thread only cleverly disguised.

BigDawg819
08-15-2007, 03:39 PM
or maybe it was a "goodell's decision to suspend vick is not a legal issue" thread. you know, kind of like it says.

I don't buy that, who actually thought suspending him would have legal implications? I for one did not.

Moses
08-15-2007, 05:40 PM
as far as the CBA goes, there is no clause in the document that appears to specifically over-rule at-will employment in any circumstance except forfeiture of signing bonuses, which has nothing to do with the actual employment and everything to do with being paid the guaranteed money on your contract. further, there is absolutely no language in article XI that would in any way prohibit the comissioner from suspending a player, regardless of the conduct code. in fact, as far as i can tell, the conduct code is not mentioned anywhere in the CBA.

i would imagine that the next time you say something like "clearly" or "obviously" it will be followed by an actual fact or quote or statistic showing why something is "clear" or "obvious".

NFL CBA - http://www.nflpa.org/CBA/CBA_Complete.aspx

So what you're saying is that the NFL can suspend or even ban any player, at any time, for any reason? Why even have a conduct policy then? The reason is because they want to follow the guidelines they have setup to prevent people from being treated unfairly.

If players are treated unfairly (i.e. not according to league policy) than the player and NFLPA will file a dispute. This will go to arbitration and if it clearly goes against league policy, you would only assume that the ruling would go in favour of the player.

Now look at this:

# Persons Charged With Criminal Activity
# Any Covered Person arrested for or charged with conduct prohibited by this policy will be required to undergo an immediate, mandatory clinical evaluation and, if directed, appropriate counseling. Such evaluation and counseling must be performed under the direction and supervision of the NFL Vice President of Player and Employee Development. Failure to cooperate with evaluation and counseling (including being arrested for or charged with additional criminal activity during the evaluation and counseling period) shall itself be conduct detrimental to the National Football League and shall be punishable by fine or suspension at the discretion of the Commissioner.

It clearly states what happens when a player is charged with a criminal activity. This is the EXACT situation that Vick is in. Why would the NFL just abandon this policy?

Moses
08-15-2007, 06:39 PM
that's not and has never been the issue here. the issue has been and still is the fact that people have argued that legally, the nfl is handcuffed. that simply isn't true. i have not once, nor has the OP, argued that it would be a good idea for the NFL to suspend him in terms of PR (both public and player relations). no one has argued that they'd be smart to suspend him beforehand in this or the other thread.

Nobody here actually knows how the legal process would play out if Vick was suspended right now and then found innocent later. There are a million things to consider that even top judges and lawyers would have trouble sifting through. It's well beyond the scope of this forum but there would be an argument to be made for both sides.

I'm not talking about what would be good for PR. In all honestly, suspending him would appease 99% of the people. I'm just saying that the NFL should follow their policy which is very clear in this matter. Suspending Vick would clearly go against the policy that they have written down.

Basically my argument is that if the league were to listen to their own policy, they would not suspend Vick at this point in time. To my knowledge, the NFL has yet to breach their own policy when suspending players for violating the personal conduct policy. I can't see them doing it here.