Can You Fire Employee for Throwing a Tantrum?
Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young stormed out of the stadium after was called a "heated exchange" with coach Jeff Fisher following the team's overtime loss.
The Vince Young meltdown began when he left the field while the game was still going on after facing what turned out to be a season-ending injury to his throwing hand. On his way off the field, Young threw his shoulder pads and uniform into the stands.
So what happens in the non-sporting world when people pull a Vince Young-like meltdown of their own at work?
Well, absent a specific employment contract, they can be fired at will. That means that shouting at people and storming out of a meeting is a fireable offense. Wearing a paisley tie could be as well. That's because at will employment allows a company to terminate employment for no cause. The only caveat being that the basis of termination cannot be illegal under federal or state law. In addition, an employee is also free to leave the company for reason or no reason all.
So what that's what it means in the regular business world. But what about the NFL? Well, things get flipped on their heads in this case. Vince Young is under contract with the Titans through 2011 and is due $8.5 million. Coach Jeff Fisher is under contract as well. So team owner Bud Adams has stepped in and told both parties, to "get this thing settled."
And so they probably will follow their boss' orders. In sports, it's actually not all that uncommon to have players and coaches on the same team that despise each other. In the long run, those kinds of relationships usually don't work out very well, though.
- Titans' Vince Young: Frustration with Jeff Fisher led to his blow-up (USA TODAY)
- At-Will Employment (FindLaw)
- At-Will Employee FAQ's (FindLaw)
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