Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Should Michael Vick Been Rehired By The Eagles??

Adjunct Law Prof Blog reported on Vick's arrested and reproduced a copy of the criminal indictment, available here. Now he is out of prison after serving time for unspeakable crimes inflicted upon defenseless dogs. The Eagles rehired him. This gives us the opportunity to discuss an important issue as Vick is not the first person to go to jail and then seek to be hired.

I have personally represented many many individuals who engaged in what is referred to as "off duty misconduct." It can be a crime like DWI or something more serious and un-speakable. Should that person loose his job? Well, in most jurisdictions which afford a due process type of hearing to the employee, the law is that the employee can be fired if there is a nexus to work. Where an employee is a role model, just about any criminal felony conviction speaks to morality and therefore, will satisfy the nexus requirement. Note, the employee may not  be fired if there is a nexus; but he will get some type of penalty such as a suspension and very well may be fired.

What about Vick? Clearly this is off duty misconduct and clearly he is a role model. I submit that if he were anyone else, he would not have been hired for any job in the public eye. The only employment he possibly could get would be something where he was very much in the background and no one new who he was.

Therefore, I am very disappointed in the Eagles. They essentially gave preferential treatment that you or I would not have gotten.

Now, I do recognize he paid his debt to society, but that does not erase what he has done. He has no right to play football and he should have to struggle to find work just like every other x-con.

It is my hope that the Philadelphia fans will teach their team a lesson-its not all about winning at all costs.

And yes, I am a dog lover. And no, I am not an Eagles fan, and frankly I am not even a football fan.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

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I have no cockeyed, myopic belief that society will reconsider the hurdles former ex-cons face in reentering the workforce after the ex-cons served their time. However, in addition to shedding light on the prevalence of dog-fighting operations, it would be nice if this whole incident would get people to talk about giving other ex-cons the same second chance that Vick received. After all, there is allegedly this goal of "rehabilitation" in the penal system. Allegedly is the crucial word in the previous sentence.

Posted by: Sujan Vasavada | Aug 17, 2009 3:19:48 PM

Frankly I am a little surprised by your position. For one that explains the law your willingness to tie employment rights to the nebulous "role model" standard is puzzling. When our society keeps ex-offenders unemployable it does so at our peril. Vick has an extremely marketable skill which he should be able to pursue; especially since his offense did not involve his employment. Everyone in any employment position can be viewed as a role model. Vick represents someone who has clearly understood what he did and accepts the penalties, both criminal and civil, that he will endure for years to come. His recent interview and statement are testaments to willingness to be a positive role model. Other offenders can learn alot from him.

Posted by: Jeff Kaufman | Aug 18, 2009 5:29:38 AM

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