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Age bias claim vs employment contract issue in Buffalo Bills case

A former equipment manager for the Buffalo Bills says that beginning in 2010, after a shift in management of the team occurred, the former manager was forced to endure two years’ of harassment over his age. The man had been with the football franchise for 37 years before he was let go. He has filed an age discrimination lawsuit against the Bills in a court in New York.

The Bills, meanwhile, have asked the federal court chambered in Erie County to throw out the age discrimination lawsuit and allow the National Football League to handle the dispute. The football team is pointing to an employment contract, which the Bills say the former equipment manager signed in 2011. The Bills maintain that the man’s employment contract includes a provision to have the NFL resolve disputes—the team argues that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should be allowed to act as an arbitrator in resolving the dispute.

The man was let go and says that he was never given an explanation for his termination, according to WGRZ News. Before he was fired, the former equipment manager says that he suffered hostile remarks about his age while on the job. But, he says that he was ultimately terminated shortly after his wife had inquired about post-retirement benefits. The former manager says that the harassment based upon his age for two years, and the timing of his wrongful termination in the wake of his wife’s questions about benefits show that his termination was unlawfully based upon his age.

It is not clear how the federal court may ultimately rule on the Bill’s position. Employment law issues can be complex—especially those involving issues of discrimination. But, employment contract issues are also complex animals, and often highly dependent upon not only the legal arguments and analysis under the law, but also the individual contract language at issue.

Some employment law cases need to go through litigation in court. But, many may also proceed through some other process, such as negotiation, mediation arbitration or other processes. A New York employment law attorney can assist a person who believes that an employer has engaged in unlawful employment law practices in understanding what procedures may be available.

Source: WGRZ News, “Bills Want Age Discrimination Lawsuit Dismissed, Handed Over to NFL,” Aug. 1, 2013

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