Philadelphia Employment Law News

NHL Locked Players Out: No Flyers Without a Contract

Well, the Chicago teachers went back to work after a little more than a week of striking. However, it's not looking so good for the NHL Players Association as they enter the fourth day of a lockout. At least the two sides have begun negotiations, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman locked out players from practicing because the collective bargaining agreement expired over the weekend, according to the NHL's website. Without the ability to play in the United States, many hockey stars are taking out insurance policies and signing contracts with European teams to continue playing, according to the Inquirer. The insurance is to cover their team in the case the lockout ends and the player cannot start because of an injury.

What happens to those who signed with European teams when the lockout ends? Will they be breaching their NHL contracts?

We all know that pro athletes' contracts are far different from what the rest of us typically see. The major difference is the amount of money. Another difference is the contract provision that allows the contract to end upon certain events such as injuries.

In general, an employment contract outlines the job that you will be doing, how much you will be paid, the length of employment, and how employment can end, among other issues.

One type of clause that would have come into play with the NHL players who signed with other teams is an "exclusive employment" clause. This means that you can't have side jobs while you work for your employer.

Luckily for the players, the European teams are including a clause in their agreements with NHL players that allows them to leave as soon as the lockout is over. If they did not, it is likely that the players would be liable for damages under their U.S. contracts.

Hopefully your employment contract is not as confusing as it likely is for Ruslan Fedotenko and the rest of the Flyers. It's no wonder these athletes have agents and employment lawyers to help them make the right decisions.

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