Fired Assistant To Late Saints Owner Awarded More Than $384K
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints have been ordered by an NFL arbitrator to pay more than $384,000 to a fired personal assistant to late team owner Tom Benson.
Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that the Saints were ordered to pay Rodney Henry $100,000 plus interest for unpaid overtime and $94,300 plus for the violation of a clause in his employment contract stating he was entitled to a termination fee if anyone other than Benson himself fired Henry.
Arbitrator Harold Henderson also ordered the Saints to pay Henry's attorneys' fees of $190,000.
The Advocate newspaper first reported the ruling.
Henry's initial lawsuit in November 2015 accused the Saints not only of failing to pay overtime, but also of firing him for complaining that Benson's wife, Gayle, made racially insensitive comments about him. Henry, who is black, has not been awarded any damages for claims of racism.
Before the matter was referred to arbitration, which is not public, the Saints denied all allegations. In a written statement in January 2016, the Saints said Tom and Gayle Benson, who are white, considered Henry "part of their family," and were disappointed by his allegations of discrimination.
Gayle Benson is now the sole owner of the Saints and NBA's Pelicans, having inherited the clubs after her husband's death last March.
Henry was Benson's personal assistant dating back to the 1990s, serving in that role during two stints spanning close to 25 years.
The Saints could chose to appeal Henderson's ruling in federal court, but have not announced any intention to do so.
– by Brett Martel, AP reporter