Former Dolphins scout says he was fired for staying home with sick wife

Joel Auerbach

Nate Sullivan contends Miami GM Dennis Hickey dismissed him because working from home in order to be with his ailing wife "just did not work."

The Miami Dolphins just can't stay away from controversy these days. The latest public black eye comes in the form of a lawsuit threatened by a former scout who claims he was unlawfully fired for working from home in order to take care of his sick wife.

The attorney for Nate Sullivan, who had worked for the Dolphins for 17 years, sent the Dolphins an intent-to-initiate-litigation letter charging that the dismissal violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to Alex Marves of FOX Sports.

Sullivan claims that he was fired earlier this month because new general manager Dennis Hickey didn't like the fact that Sullivan was working at home. Sullivan has worked from home since 2004 in order to aid his wife, who suffers from cystic fibrosis as well as a debilitating blood vessel disease.

Miami's three previous GMs had been fine with that, but Sullivan claims that Hickey, who was hired to replace Jeff Ireland in January, said the arrangement "just did not work for him."

Neither the Dolphins nor the NFL, which is listed as a potential defendant, have publicly commented on the charges.

Title 29 of the Americans With Disabilities Act states, "It is unlawful for a covered entity to exclude or deny equal jobs or benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against, a qualified individual because of the known disability of an individual with whom the qualified individual is known to have a family, business, social or other relationship or association."

On top of that, Sullivan claims the franchise specifically reworked its health insurance policy to exclude coverage for his wife. According to the letter, cystic fibrosis medication was dropped from the policy, meaning Sullivan and his wife went from paying $10 per pill to $3,000. The letter claims that cystic fibrosis was the only terminal illness singled out.

Sullivan's attorney, Jason L. Harr, told FOX Sports 1 that his client hopes to get his job back along with health care benefits that will cover his wife's illness. If not, he is prepared to seek damages.

Whether these allegations are true or not, the impending lawsuit is not a good look for an organization still reeling from the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal.

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