ORT MYERS, FLORIDA (AP) – Legends Golf and Country Club is facing legal action from a former assistant golf pro who claims he was fired unfairly in May.
“I simply want answers,” Brad Stecklein, 46, said Monday as he stood outside the resident’s gate to the grounds. The major reason I’m here today is to inform you that a lawsuit has been filed. I’m also requesting that general manager Renae Frazier and PGA golf professional Chad Perkins quit.”
The lawsuit claims that the club’s master association violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and seeks damages of more than $30,000.
He claims that a new golf pro at the club wanted him to work 57 hours a week, discontinue giving golf lessons on the clock, and then fired him after he requested a job recommendation from the club’s general manager. Stecklein is also seeking reimbursement for unpaid regular and overtime hours he worked as part of the lawsuit.
Stecklein went on a hunger strike at the club’s entrance after being dismissed, only halting when his wife became concerned about his weight loss throughout the multi-day action.
“All I know is that I have a hundred people eager to depose me,” he explained. “I’m looking forward to my court appearance.”
Legends general manager and chief operations officer Frazier stated that the team does not comment on pending matters.
Perkins did not respond to phone messages left for a statement and could not be reached for comment.
Frazier was perplexed as to why Stecklein was performing the hunger strike in May and declined to make a remark.
She would only say, “No one is fired without cause.” “It has long been the Policy of your Club to not comment publicly on the facts of any single employee’s discipline or termination,” said Bill Hoffman, the Legends’ Master Board president, in a message emailed out after Stecklein was fired. We feel that Policy is good management practice and that it serves both the employee and the Club’s best interests.”
Florida is a “work-at-will” state, which means that employees can be fired at any time without cause or notice.
There are exceptions, according to state statutes. If you fire an employee for an illegal reason or in violation of an employment contract, you are breaking Florida employment law.
Stecklein claimed there was no reason to terminate him because he had worked for Legends for nearly a decade and a half.
Stecklein said he was inspired by the support of “an army of (club) members” and tales about his firing that went viral and generated job offers and other forms of support, including coverage by Golfweek.
He said he turned down the employment offers because he and his family wanted to stay in Lee County.
“I understand why my wife didn’t want to move,” he explained.
He stated he had handled the firings for the most part.
“I had a lot of trauma for a couple of months, and it’s challenging because you’re supposed to be tough and move on as an Iowa guy,” he added.
Stecklein expressed regret for the way Hoffman, the board president, handled the situation.
Stecklein remarked, “He broke my heart.” “To me, he was like a father figure; he was constantly smiling and around.” “You’re always so upbeat, never downbeat.”
He said he was perplexed by Hoffman’s change of heart, promising to meet with him before barring him on social media and by email.
“All I wanted to do was ask him why they were torturing me,” he explained.
Other club members have donated assistance and even created a Gofundme campaign for Stecklein, which has gone a long way to assist his family. Since May, $14,200 has been raised through this endeavor.
He explained, “My wife has a chronic disease, and the doctor bills are continuously building up.” “That was extremely beneficial.”
Another event that moved him deeply, he claimed, was when his 11-year-old son approached him and offered him his allowance back to “help pay the bills.”
Stecklein stated he was in a downward spiral at the time after receiving a heartfelt offer.
He explained, “I just promised him we’re going to be fine.” “Everything will be alright,” says the narrator.