Carney R. Shegerian, founder of Shegerian & Associates, a Santa Monica-based law firm specializing in employee rights, has issued a statement aimed at all US employees in light of the current news coverage surrounding the Rutgers University abusive coaching controversy. In his statement, Shegerian states that while all the facts are still yet to be revealed regarding the Rutgers case, it’s a cautionary tale about the treatment of whistleblowers regardless of the outcome.
The man who blew the whistle on Rutgers by releasing the video that showed its head basketball coach insulting and abusing players sued the college earlier this month for conspiracy, discrimination and wrongful firing.
Eric Murdock, a former NBA player who was director of player development for Rutgers’ men’s basketball team, is suing Rutgers and the State University of New Jersey for wrongful termination. Murdock claims that he complained to his direct supervisor, head coach Michael Rice, and to school management “on several occasions” about Rice’s abuse of his players. Rice was fired last week after a video went public, showing him pushing his athletes, throwing basketballs at them and calling them derogatory slurs. Murdock claims that his earlier complaints were ignored and when he revealed a video offering proof of the alleged abuses, he was fired by Rutgers. The video has since gone public, igniting national outrage regarding Rice’s inappropriate conduct.
“While we are yet to learn all the details of Mr. Murdock’s case,” said Shegerian. “His version of the events that transpired paint him out to be a wrongfully terminated whistleblower of wrongdoing taking place where he worked. There’s an important lesson to be learned here and that is that when controversial information is shared about workplace wrongdoing, any whistleblower must be protected by the law, and can stand to be compensated significantly if his or her career has suffered as a result of simply being a whistleblower.”