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Football coach sues university for wrongful termination

Unlike in most jobs, which are considered to be "at-will" employment, those working under an employment contract in Washington, D.C. may be protected from firing, or being forced to resign, without cause. Just as with any other contract, a contract for employment lays out certain rights and obligations for both parties. When a worker believes that his or her employer fired them in violation of the terms of the employment contract, he or she could have the right to compensation in court.

A former defensive coordinator for the University of Central Florida has filed a wrongful termination suit against the school's Athletic Department and Board of Trustees. The coach says that he was fired because the head coach, George O'Leary, second-guessed his decision to hire him. The lawsuit also accuses O'Leary of bullying the plaintiff, and making bigoted remarks in his presence.

The plaintiff was hired in late December 2013 to replace UCF's defensive coordinator, who took a job with another team. Before he officially took over, UCF had a bowl game, and a coach already on the staff served as the interim defensive coordinator.

According to the wrongful termination suit, O'Leary was impressed by the interim coach's performance, and had second thoughts about the plaintiff.

When the plaintiff began working, the suit contends, O'Leary belittled him in front of other coaches and staff, using profanity. In at least one case, O'Leary allegedly called the plaintiff a "guinea," a slur against the plaintiff's Italian heritage.

O'Leary also reportedly made offensive remarks about African Americans. He is accused of referring to black NFL coaches as "coons," and the league in general as "one big 'Ru-Ru' tribe." He also made anti-Semitic remarks about Jews, the suit says.

The plaintiff left UCF in March. At the time, it was said he resigned for "personal reasons." But according to the suit, he was fired. He is seeking more than $15,000 in damages.

Source:, "Ex-coach sues UCF for wrongful termination, claiming racism," Ryan Bass, Sept. 30, 2014

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