Punter Chris Kluwe, who became known more for his outspoken support of gay rights than his on-field play, has settled his dispute with his former team, the Minnesota Vikings.
Kluwe was threatening to sue the team for wrongful termination, claiming that his release from the Vikings last year was because of his support for same-sex marriage, not because of his performance on the field, reports The Associated Press.
What are the terms of the settlement reached by Kluwe and the Vikings?
Deal Includes Donations to Gay Rights Charities
Although the exact terms of the settlement agreement weren't disclosed, Kluwe said that he will not personally receive any money as part of the deal. Instead, the Vikings have agreed to donate to five gay charities over the next five years.
In addition, the Vikings will require their players and staff to undergo mandatory sensitivity training, the AP reports. Kluwe's allegations against the team included repeated anti-gay statements made by special teams coach Mike Priefer. An internal investigation by the team confirmed this, and Priefer was suspended for three months and ordered to attend sensitivity training.
Wrongful Termination Lawsuits
In general, a lawsuit for wrongful termination is brought by an employee who claims he or she was terminated for an unlawful reason. Some common grounds for wrongful termination claims include being fired:
- In violation of anti-discrimination laws,
- In violation of an employment contract,
- As the result of sexual harassment, and/or
- In retaliation for filing a complaint against an employer.
Though Kluwe had alleged that his termination was linked to his support for gay rights, it's not clear from news reports how he intended to prove that in court.
And in the end, it no longer matters. In a statement, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said the Vikings remain focused on "creating the best workplace environment for our players, coaches and staff." Wilf also wished Kluwe the best, according to the AP.
- Vikings to donate to LGBT groups in Chris Kluwe settlement (The Washington Post)
- 5 Surprising Amicus Briefs in the Same Sex Marriage Cases (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court Blog)
- Top 5 Ways to Be Wrongfully Terminated (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Varsity Athlete Can't Sue University for Being Cut from Team (FindLaw's Courtside)