Three senior referees have filed a lawsuit against the National Basketball Association (NBA). They claim that the league terminated their employment this year. This was due to their refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19 due to religious beliefs.
This case was submitted on Saturday in Manhattan federal court. Kenny Mauer, Mark Ayotte, and Jason Phillips alleged that the league unfairly compelled compliance with its “hygienic norms” and wrongly judged their serious religious objections.
It fell short of its “high bar” against being vaccinated. The complaint was brought by the three members.
The allegations were connected to the players’ contention that the league improperly enforced compliance with its “hygienic norms.”
The plaintiffs claimed that their suspensions for the 2021-2022 season were the result of the NBA’s “jab or job ultimatum”. It was in effect during the time that the league imposed COVID vaccines for all staff other than players.
The league refused to reinstate them
They claimed that the league refused to reinstate them. This was said despite the fact that the vaccine requirement would not be enforced for the 2022-2023 season.
This was in line with the league’s new seven-year collective bargaining agreement with referees. This agreement prohibits the implementation of vaccine mandates.
According to the case, if the National Basketball Association (NBA) had not “taken it upon itself to coerce faith-based conscientious objectors to submit to secular norms,” the plaintiffs would not have suffered any of the damage about which they complained. “In conclusion, the plaintiffs were subjected to harassment.”
Referees have an experience of 19 years
The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the attorney for the former referees did not reply immediately to requests for comment.
Before being suspended from the NBA, Mauer, Ayotte, and Phillips all worked as referees for a combined total of 19 years before Phillips was promoted to the position of vice president of referee operations and replay center principal.
Mauer and Ayotte both stated that they had worked in the NBA for 35 years and 17 years, respectively, prior to their suspensions.
The lawsuit alleges that the NBA has violated several laws
The lawsuit alleges that the National Basketball Association has violated federal civil rights law, as well as state and city human rights laws in New York.
It seeks front and back compensation in addition to punitive penalties, damages for reputational harm, pain, and suffering, and damages for financial loss.
The complaint has been given the number 22-09666 and is being heard in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. It is Ayotte v. National Basketball Association et al.