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Rutgers University Facing Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Former NBA player and Director of Player Development for the Rutgers’ Men’s  basketball team, Eric Murdock has sued Rutgers, Rutgers President Robert Barchi;  Coach Michael Rice; Athletic Director Timothy Pernetti, and Rutgers former President, Richard McCormick.   According to Murdock’s lawsuit, after he blew the whistle on mistreatment of the university’s athletes he suffered discrimination and wrongful termination.

Murdock claims that his employment with the university was abruptly terminated on July 2, 2012 under the false pretense that his contract with Rutgers was not being renewed for the 2012-13 academic year.  However,  his termination was demonstrably pretextual as Murdock’s contract had previously been renewed by Rutgers and its representatives.   This being said, the termination was the direct result of his complaints and report of defendant Rice’s unlawful conduct including, assault (both physical and verbal), battery, harassment, intimidation, bullying and discrimination (including repeated used of hostile and insulting homophobic and racial slurs) against student-athletes, staff members and others, in violation of Rutgers’ policy against verbal assault, harassment, intimidation, bullying and defamation, and in violation of the terms of his employment with the university.

The complaint continues: “While Mr. Murdock’s employment with the university was wrongfully terminated, Rice, whose assaultive, abusive and unlawful conduct and bullying of and discrimination against student-athletes was publicly recognized by the university, its athletic director, and others in December 2012, defendant Rice remained as one of the highest-compensated employees of the university.

“Moreover, defendant Rice’s misconduct was at all times readily available for review by defendants Barchi, McCormick, Pernetti and others as video of all practices overseen by defendant Rice are publicly available.

Rice was fired after a video eventually went viral on the Internet, showing him pushing his athletes, throwing basketballs at them and calling them “faggots.”

Murdock is seeking , lost wages and punitive damages for violations of New Jersey’s Conscientious Employee Protection Act, hostile workplace, breach of contract, breach of faith, wrongful firing, negligence and civil conspiracy.

If you have suffered discrimination or wrongful termination, by your employer, please give Employment Attorney Todd M. Friedman a call for a free consultation.