Michael Vick and Employment Law

Michael Vick has recently been picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles after serving an 18-month sentence stemming from charges of animal abuse and dog fighting. Having made headlines for his actions, and the cruelty and severity of those actions, Vick had been made into a monster- in part rightfully so, and in some cases not so fairly.

With Vick signing with the Eagles last week, the star raised some important issues regarding employment. Can a team reasonably take into account Vick’s criminal history when looking at trying to employ him? While most individuals must disclose such information to employers, Vick had no such luck in his status as a celebrity, and the high profile surrounding his case.

Many states have laws against restricting, discriminating or denying employment to individuals based on their criminal records. These laws restrict an employers rights to make judgments based on their record, and to help rehabilitate individuals convicted of crimes back into society.

Being a celebrity of course complicates matters, and eradicates much of ones own personal privacy. But what should a football club, whose reputation and more importantly money could be on the line, do when dealing with these decisions.

Would a football team be wrong to hire back Vick after serving out his sentence? Or should the Eagles and the NFL give Vick a chance to continue his career after serving the time a jury handed down to him.

There is no easy answer in a case such as this, especially given the specifics of Vicks trial. What’s your take on the matter- were the Eagles right to hire Vick back?