The former PA to Tom Benson, owner of two New Orleans sports teams, has filed action against the businessman for a significant amount of back pay. In new court papers, he alleges his dismissal was timed after he was questioned in a mental competency lawsuit against Benson.
Rodney Henry’s original lawsuit against the New Orleans Saints American football team claiming he had not been paid overtime despite regularly putting in 16-hour days working for Benson and his wife.
He says the team put him on an annual salary of $50,000, (£35,300) which exempted him from receiving overtime pay. However, he claims salary schemes on the team are reserved for high-ranking executives and he should have been paid hourly, meaning he would have received more compensation for the times he had to work more than 40 hours a week.
The Saints countered by saying Henry had signed a contract that said he could bring any employment disputes to National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Now Henry alleges that Benson’s wife Gayle made “racially derogatory comments to and about” him and treated him “with disdain and disrespect”. He points to a specific incident in which she forced him to stay in a small room at the team’s training camp that had no air conditioning and no towels. When his boss found out, he requested Henry be moved to a larger room, at which point his wife allegedly told Henry she hated him.
Henry was questioned as a witness in a lawsuit against Benson by his daughter and grandchildren, after which point he was “ostracised and isolated” from Benson until he was fired by the team’s HR director.
Both cases are on-going.
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