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West Point Athletic Association Doc Alleges Wrongful Firing (1)

Aug. 28, 2020, 3:14 PM; Updated: Aug. 28, 2020, 10:31 PM

Army West Point Athletic Association Inc. is facing a suit by a doctor for its athletic training program who alleges he was fired in retaliation for trying to protect athletes and remedy discrimination against female soccer and basketball players.

Jonathan Oliver alleges he was let go after butting heads with the head athletic trainer, Tim Kelly, who was shielded by Army’s head football coach, Jeff Monken.

Oliver alleges that Kelly resisted efforts to document training injuries, allowed non-certified trainers to conduct strength training, and failed to address health and safety failures affecting the women’s soccer and basketball teams.

After Oliver placed Kelly on a performance improvement program, Monken barred Oliver from access to the building where his office was located, making it impossible for him to do his job, the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Thursday alleges.

The athletic director fired Oliver on Jan. 15, 2020 due to his “difficulty with relationships,” the complaint alleges.

Causes of Action: Retaliation in violation of New York Labor Law §740, New York Not-For-Profit Corporation Law §715-b(a), and New York Executive Law §296(7); breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

Relief: Reinstatement, damages, back pay, attorneys’ fees and costs.

Response: A spokesman for the United States Military Academy said it doesn’t comment on pending litigation or on litigation when it is not named as a party.

Attorneys: Giskan, Solotaroff & Anderson LLP represents Oliver.

The case is Oliver v. Army West Point Athletic Ass’n, S.D.N.Y., No. 20-cv-06934, 8/27/20.

(Updated to add no comment from academy)

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Hayes in Washington at PHayes@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Patrick L. Gregory at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com

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