Chad Kelly, Toronto Argonauts settle lawsuit with former team employee

Photo: Reuben Polansky/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

The lawsuit filed by a former Toronto Argonauts’ strength and conditioning coach against the franchise and quarterback Chad Kelly has been settled out of court, according to multiple sources.

In February, a former team employee filed a lawsuit with the Ontario Superior Court, alleging Kelly “repeatedly sought to initiate romantic connections” with her throughout the 2022 and 2023 seasons. She claimed Kelly escalated his harassment last November when he publicly accused her of being romantically involved with another player, an incident she alleges led to the team not renewing her contract.

Kelly filed his defence in the lawsuit and denied making “any romantic or sexual overtures” towards the plaintiff, including workplace sexual harassment. He called the claims “spurious” and accused the plaintiff of filing the lawsuit merely to draw media attention to what was “otherwise a very routine termination situation.”

In the team’s defence filing, the Argonauts claimed “no knowledge” of any behaviour by Kelly that violated the league’s gender-based violence policy or breached the Ontario Human Rights Code. The team claimed its conduct with the plaintiff was “all times fair, reasonable, lawful and undertaken in good faith.”

Saskatchewan-based firm Buckingham Security Services Ltd., an independent third party, investigated the plaintiff’s claims on behalf of the CFL and filed an 87-page report, which isn’t publicly available due to privacy laws. An executive summary distributed to the Argonauts’ legal team and Kelly’s representation stated that investigators corroborated three of six claims made against him in the lawsuit, including “sexual harassment as defined by the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act.”

Kelly was suspended for a minimum of nine games and is currently not with the team after attending rookie camp last month, which drew criticism from multiple female employees around the league. General manager Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons addressed the media at the time and defended Kelly’s presence on the field, though he also took responsibility for his team’s alleged mishandling of the harassment claims.

None of the allegations against Kelly or the Argonauts were tested in court. The plaintiff’s lawyer, Andrew Monkhouse, declined to comment.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.