As Jonathan Martin remains secluded, separated from the Miami Dolphins following the bullying saga with fellow offensive linemen Richie Incognito, his mother, a nationally prominent employee lawyer, is likely considering all of her son's options.
Plenty has yet to be determined, including what the NFL will find in its own independent investigation, and whether the case will play itself out in court in a potentially messy workplace harassment ordeal.
But Martin, a Stanford graduate who was preceded by three generations of Harvard graduates, couldn't be better suited to deal with the legal ramifications thanks to his mother, Jane Howard-Martin, who's more than comfortable at the center of expensive workplace lawsuits.
“She's a great person, a great lawyer and this is her playing field,” one of Martin-Howard's former attorney colleagues said to The Sun Sentinel.
From the paper:
“Howard-Martin is now a corporate lawyer for Toyota in Los Angeles. But for nearly two decades she litigated employment-law cases, spoke at legal symposiums as an expert on the subject and wrote articles for legal journals.”
Howard-Martin even penned a regular column for USA Today, outlining various acceptable workplace policies.
In one article written in 2002 titled “Stop workplace harassment in your company,” Martin-Howard argued that a harassment policy isn't valuable unless it's universally enforced.
“A policy against harassment is not valuable unless employees believe it will be enforced. The company must use discipline when appropriate to ensure that harassment is not part of the work environment. The company should monitor the volume and types of issues that arise to determine whether there are recurring issues that need to be more specifically addressed.”
Workplace attorney Gloria Allred said, “[If the Dolphins] knew of racial or sexual harassment of Jonathan Martin by other football players on that team, and failed to take prompt, remedial action or if the team condoned discrimination, they are in violation of Title VII (a federal law prohibiting workplace discrimination) and are liable for the emotional damages resulting from the discriminatory behavior.”
We're a long way from the conclusion of this story and a long way from the courtroom. All the facts aren't even known yet. And although Jonathan Martin surely wishes the intimidation and hazing practices never reached a point of no return, he has to be comforted by his mother's history as this potentially landmark case continues to evolve.