A former Chicago Cubs’ scout filed an age bias lawsuit that took an interesting turn when a California federal judge pointed out the potential significance of an email that included both ratings of scouts’ performances AND what the judge described as “beauty contest” descriptions listing their age and physique.
When the Los Angeles hearing started, U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson advised both parties’ attorneys that he would be focusing on how the baseball organizations’ pending motion for summary judgment would be affected by a number of internal scouting department emails. The judge ordered the Cubs to provide these emails to the court.
One email, sent in August 2015 by the Cubs scouting department’s second-in-command, assistant director of pro scouting Andrew Bassett was sent to Jared Porter, a recently hired (at the time of the email) Cubs’ director of pro scouting. The email contained information that is receiving a lot of attention from the court.
The Plaintiff’s attorney describes the contents of the email as a “ranking of scouts like Henderson [the plaintiff].” Bassett’s descriptions of the scouts in the email included references to their age, their families, their body types, and other information. The judge called into question what the physical descriptions included in the email had to do with a scout’s performance on the job – referring to the situation as the baseball organization holding beauty contests for their scouts. Henderson, 65 years old, and other older scouts were ranked poorly according to the internal email.
The Defendant’s attorney argued that all the scout’s ages were listed and that the email was presented in a casual tone, but also contained a fair evaluation of their scouts’ performances. He claimed the Cubs were entitled to summary judgment because the plaintiff was not fired. Instead, his annual contract was simply not renewed. The Defendants argue this does not constitute a wrongful act and is not liked to any sort of alleged discriminatory action.
The judge responded that he would need to review the emails in detail.
If you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace of if you are a victim of wrongful termination, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.