Lynne Anderson, partner in the firm’s Florham Park office, was quoted in a story that appeared in the Miami Herald regarding the recent incidents of bullying on the Miami Dolphins football team and the potential for the victim of the bullying, Jonathan Martin, to bring legal action against the team and its coaching staff.
Lynne addressed the possiblity of Martin bringing a suit against the team based on Martin belonging to a protected class. “If Martin can prove he was harassed because of his race – and Incognito’s vile voice messages might be the proof he needs…” But, being a member of a protected class is only the first step for bringing a claim against the team as Lynne added, “he also has to show that it [the bullying] was unwelcome behavior”.
Lynne also addressed the chance that even if the team was not aware of the bullying that legal action could be brought against the team’s coaching staff itself. “If the coaches were aware that this kind of conduct was going on among the team, that by itself would be enough to give rise to a complaint.” Lynne went on to further explain, “The law does not recognize a stick-your-head-in-the-sand defense for unlawful harassment”.