DENVER – Seventeen former Major League Baseball scouts who say they were discriminated against because of their age sued the league, its teams and Commissioner Rob Manfred on Wednesday.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Denver. The former scouts allege violations of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 along with laws in 11 states and New York City.
The scouts, ranging from 55 to 71, allege they were discriminated against from 2020-22. They say MLB and the teams “have acted to prevent the reemployment of older scouts or refused the reemployment of older scouts.”
They also say an MLB provision that offsets scouts' salaries when they sign with a new team — but are still being paid by a previous team from which they've been fired — is discriminatory.
MLB said in a statement it looks “forward to refuting these claims in court,” but it does not comment on pending litigation.
The ex-scouts also allege MLB in 2015 ended a listing of scouts eligible for employment, the decision to end the MLB Scouting Bureau in 2018 was discriminatory and MLB used analytics and the coronavirus pandemic as pretexts to eliminate older scouts.
“This lawsuit is about age discrimination within a sport that supposedly values history, tradition and putting the best possible product on the field,” lawyer Mitchell C. Abeita of Kilgore & Kilgore said in a statement.
The plaintiffs are headed by former Chicago Cubs scout James S. Benedict, who was terminated in 2020. They seek class-action certification.
The former scouts allege violations of laws in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Utah.