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Ask Thomas Swartz Your Own Question
Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3139
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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I recently resigned from a coaching position in which they

Customer Question

I recently resigned from a coaching position in which they kept putting in stipulations and running me in the ground. Like not using a facebook page to communicate, kids were only allowed to miss 3 practices or events unless it was another school activity, I had to have a minimum of 3 days a week practices, kids quit that didn't make varsity and i wanted to return however they weren't aloud unless they were on JV. However the new coach who was in my position and resigned a year and a half before I took it over is doing 2 day a week practices and using facebook as means of communication, able to miss more than 3 things even if its not school affiliated. I got put through a lot and was wondering if I have a case against school for defamation of character and bulling me out of the position.
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state you're in?
Customer: Pennsylvania
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: I just can't understand how they told me all these things I can't do and turn around and it's okay for the next so obviously it should have never been an issue.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Not yet I just resigned October 5th and my own child is part of the program so i have been seeing how its running.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Thomas Swartz replied 9 months ago.

Hello Customer,

I don't see any real chance for a successful defamation of character lawsuit. Defamation requires that someone or some entity make false statements of fact about you to others which damages your reputation. Here I really don't see the school making any false statements about you. What I see is just the school changing its policies about how the team should be run. I don't know the specifics about what authority you are given as a coach in terms of how you could run the team, but I don't see and specific statements made by the school about you which would damage your reputation.

In terms of bulling you out of the position, I would think that the school ultimately had the authority to set policies about what children can participate on the team, how you can communicate with the team, and how many practices are required, etc. The school may have been somewhat arbitrary in setting these policies while you were the coach, but this does not translate into some kind of actionable legal action you can bring against the school.

However, I would review whatever policies were in place in terms of the authority given to coaches in how they could run a team. See if the school had any sort of written policies regarding employment of coaches. If the school violated these policies, you could have a breach of contract claim against the school.