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Jan 26, 201502:53 PMOpen Mic

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Super Bowl controversies have a familiar ring to business professionals

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The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks face off in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, but much of the pregame media coverage has focused on topics unrelated to who will bring home the Lombardi Trophy.

Controversy surrounding proper football inflation and other distractions has dominated pre-Super Bowl discussions, which may make running an NFL team sound like just another day at the office for many business professionals. Whether or not you’re a football fan, if you’ve worked in business, it’s likely that these scenarios have a familiar ring to them:

1. It’s the little things. The proper inflation of a game-day football may seem like a minor detail, but questions about the footballs used in the AFC Championship Game have blown up into a major media storm in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. A business professional’s life is filled with attention to details like these — from making sure the right questions are asked during a job interview to ensuring that employment law posters are properly displayed. If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s worth the effort to pay attention to the details that keep a business in compliance with employment laws, look no further than the “Deflategate” controversy.

2. Deflation investigation. As the NFL looks into the deflated footballs that were used in this year’s AFC title game, they’ll interview dozens of people. One of those questioned will be Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. He won’t have to be alone while officials ask him questions, however. An official from the NFL Players Association can accompany him — thanks to Brady’s Weingarten rights.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, a union employee can have a union representative present during an investigatory interview that could result in discipline. These rights are usually more closely associated with the National Labor Relations Board than the NFL, but it doesn’t matter whether the employee works with an offensive line or on an assembly line — a union official gets to be part of the investigatory huddle when a covered employee is being questioned. Whenever a workplace investigation is conducted, proper protocol needs to be followed.


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