Legal Blog

Telebriefs®: A Labor Relations Perspective on the NFL and Ray Rice

Howard Kurman chair of the labor and employment practice group at Offit Kurman Attorneys at Law recently discussed the NFL handling of the Ray Rice situation in his twice monthly Telebrief® conference call. Below is an excerpt from the call followed by a link where you can click to listen to the call in its entirety and read the transcript. Our first topic is a topic that has probably made you sick to your stomach, and that is the news about Ray Rice. My purpose in bringing up this topic is not necessarily to revisit the issue of domestic abuse and all the statements pro, con and indifferent that have gone around and about that.  What I am going to discuss are two aspects of the Ray Rice situation that I think are interesting for human resources and labor relations professionals. 1)  How, and if at all, can you discipline an employee for off-premises and off-duty misconduct. 2) The nature of investigation into misconduct that occurs with an employee, particularly a high notoriety employee, such as a professional athlete. Addressing the first point, this is the issue of being able to discipline an employee for off-premises conduct.  Because after all whatever happened here (we have a pretty good idea by virtue of the videos), when Ray Rice was not on a football field, not on a practice field, not in a classroom with his coaches, this obviously occurred off-premises, off-work time and the question is can an employer discipline an employee for off-premises misconduct, assuming of course that there is a good faith belief that the employee engaged in such misconduct.  The answer of course is yes, but generally its held by labor arbitrators as well as by courts that an employer certainly can discipline an employee for off-premises and off-duty misconduct, particularly where the off-premises or off-duty misconduct reflects poorly or detrimentally on the reputation of the company or the employer at issue. To read more or to listen to the Telebrief® from the September 10 call about the Ray Rice situation from an HR perspective and other recent Labor and Employment laws  please click here.  


Geared to executives with employee relations responsibilities (HR directors, supervisors, managers, business owners), Labor and Employment Telebriefs® are information-packed 30 minute briefings via the telephone. Telebriefs® provide information and insights to help executives stay current with latest workplace law developments and in front of trends so as to enable proactive policy making and management .

On the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month, from 9 – 9:30 am ET, join Offit Kurman Labor & Employment Chair Howard Kurman, as he discusses developments occurring over the past two-three weeks that will most significantly impact employers nationwide. The focus is squarely on the practical. Why is this event significant for employers? What are the lessons to be learned or actions taken?

These twice-monthly teleconferences are an easy way to stay current and compliant with the latest Labor and Employment law developments that will significantly affect you and your company.  Our guarantee: You will learn something useful, on every call!

If you have any questions regarding ban the box or labor and employment issues please contact Howard Kurman:


Howard Kurman website | 410.209.6417

Howard K. Kurman is Chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Department. Mr. Kurman regularly counsels clients on all aspects of proactive employment/labor issues. He represents employers ranging in size from as small as 20 employees to those employers with geographically disparate locations consisting of over 4,000 employees. Mr. Kurman assures, through regular contact with his clients, that they promulgate and maintain the most effective employment policies that will, to the extent possible, minimize their legal exposure in today’s litigious workplace.