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Vikings and former kicker settle wrongful termination case


No matter how acrimonious a dispute may be, resolution is always possible. New Yorkers may consider this point in thinking about the recent settlement between the Minnesota Vikings -- the National Football League team -- and their former punter, Chris Kluwe.

The dispute between Kluwe and the Vikings began not long after he was cut by the team in 2013 following several years of record-setting performances. As an outspoken advocate of same-sex marriage and gay rights, Kluwe had been angered by allegedly anti-gay comments made by one of the the team's coaches, who apparently used homophobic language to agitate Kluwe, who threatened to file a wrongful termination lawsuit. In July, the Vikings said a team investigation confirmed that the coach had made anti-gay slurs and would have to undergo sensitivity training and would be suspended him for two or three games. However, the report indicated that Kluwe's claim of wrongful termination had no merit.

In response, Kluwe threatened to file his lawsuit against the Vikings if the full report of the team's investigation was not released. Mediation between the two parties, however, eventually led to a settlement in which all Vikings employees are required take sensitivity training and the team will host a symposium on LGBT issues in professional sports. The team will also donate an unidentified sum of money to five charitable institutions that benefit the LGBT community over the next five years. The full report, however, will not be released. Kluwe said he was proud he took a stand despite the controversy.

Despite the usual disagreements between parties that lead to wrongful termination complaints, the outcome can be mutually beneficial if both parties keep an open mind. New Yorkers in similar situations should make sure they understand their legal rights they wish to settle their complaints.

Source: CBS Sports, "Chris Kluwe, Vikings reach settlement, money to charity," Will Brinson, August 19, 2014

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