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Rutgers Basketball Is a Lesson Learned About Harassment and Intimidation

Learning at Rutgers University isn’t limited to the classroom. There are lessons to be learned even on the university’s basketball court. That’s where players suffered verbal and physical assaults by then head coach Mike Rice Jr. beginning in 2010.

Rice’s coaching style included cursing at players, shoving them, and throwing basketballs at their heads. When Rutgers initially dealt with this abusive behavior last December, Rice was:

  • Suspended for three games without pay
  • Fined $50,000
  • Banned from any contact with players
  • Banned from the Rutgers campuses

However, Rice was able to return to his position for the following season. That is, until ESPN aired a compilation videos in April of Rice’s abusive behavior during practice sessions. Upon seeing the video compilation, the university president fired Rice and did not renew the contract of his assistant coach Eric Murdock (who had first reported the abuse).

Rutgers hired an independent legal firm to investigate the incident and its aftermath, and provide recommendations to the University. In a 38-page recently released report, recommendations were made that can be applied to almost any organization or business. Of particular interest are the following points:

  • The department of human resources should have had more formal involvement once the harassment was initially reported.
  • Human resource policies and procedures should be applicable uniformly across all departments.
  • A risk assessment program should be established throughout the university so that leadership can be made aware of incidents posing potential risks to its reputation and potential legal consequences.

If your workplace permits hostility and intimidation to flourish, let our attorneys help you put a stop to it.

Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch

Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for his…

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Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is the Senior Managing Partner at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt P.C., a prominent plaintiff employment law firm in the tri-state area. Mr. Atkins believes employees’ rights should be aggressively pursued when they’ve been wrongfully dealt with by their employers. He brings this philosophy to his practice when considering each case and its…

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Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigation such as discrimination, retaliation and whistle blowing matters. He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a sexual…

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Debra M. McGarvey

Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the…

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Carly Skarbnik Meredith

Carly Skarbnik Meredith, Esq. is a Partner at the firm. Carly has focused her career exclusively in the field of employment law. She has a plethora of experience representing both employees and employers with their employment issues, needs, and concerns. She believes representing both employees and employers has made her an extremely well-rounded client advocate.…


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