As Major League Baseball (MLB) approaches the half-way point of the season, the league must deal with a newly filed lawsuit alleging discrimination. On Monday, a veteran umpire filed a lawsuit against the MLB claiming it failed to promote him in a broader pattern of racial discrimination.
Angel Hernandez sued the MLB for failing to promote him because of his race, color, and national origin under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Filed in Federal Court in Ohio, Angel Hernandez’s lawsuit states that he served as an umpire for nearly 24 years and is one of the most tenured umpires currently employed by the MLB. He claims that over the course of his career he consistently received above average evaluations (the complaint states that his accuracy calling balls and strikes increased from 92.19% in 2002 to 96.88% in 2016). From 2002 through 2010, the complaint stated his excellent work was routinely recognized, and that he received coveted postseason assignments.
However, the complaint alleges that MLB’s attitude towards him changed when Joe Torre became Executive Vice President for baseball Operations in 2011. Hernandez contends that Joe Torre made negative comments towards him in 2001 regarding calls that he made against the New York Yankees, indicating that he thought Hernandez “wanted to be noticed over there”. His performance reviews were allegedly more negative after Mr. Torre joined the Office of the Commissioner. His 2011 mid-year evaluation stated his “approach has fostered a Club perception that you try to put yourself in the spotlight by seeing things that other umpires do not.”
The complaint states that since Joe Torre joined the Office of the Commissioner, only one (1) non-white umpire has been assigned to the World Series out of 36 individual assignments. As a result of failing to receive a World Series assignment, Hernandez was passed over for a monetary bonus that is included with the assignment. Additionally, Hernandez proffers that since 2000, there have been 23 umpires promoted to crew chief, and all have been white. He allegedly applied for a crew chief position four (4) times, but has never received the promotion.
Thatcher Law Firm regularly handles discrimination cases for businesses and employees. Please contact Thatcher Law Firm for more information.