Discrimination in the workplace can occur for many reasons. The guidelines set forth by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission established the schedule for what is acceptable action from employers in California and around the country and what is not. They cover employment denials regarding sex, disability, religion, and age. However, chief among the potential claim areas is racial discrimination. And, the wide range of factors that can constitute racism is about to become a major issue following a case filed by Brian Flores, former coach of the Miami Dolphins.
The essence of the claim
Brian Flores has been head coach of the Miami Dolphins for three seasons after being hired by owner Stephen Ross in a decision that complied with the league’s recent Rooney Rule to be more racially inclusive when it comes to owners hiring head coaches. While most of the players in the league are black, almost all of the coaches have traditionally been Caucasian. This puts the issue of racial discrimination in play on its face. Flores was recently fired as head coach after the team missing the playoffs for a third straight season. But, Flores now claims the owner wanted them to lose, and was offering additional pay of $100,000 per game for this result during his initial season.
The ultimate hidden issue
The lawsuit was filed as a class action matter, and it includes every other black coach in the league as a et al discrimination plaintiff, including assistants. It also includes multiple respondent teams with the other two being the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants. Flores was listed per the Rooney Rule as an interviewee for the Giants, but they hired a white head coach before Flores even had an interview.
The lawsuit also claims the Broncos did interview Flores before being hired by the Dolphins. However, Flores’ suit claims the interview was mere formality to comply with the Rooney Rule of interviewing at least two black individuals for any coaching vacancy.