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Pair of former Detroit Tigers scouts sue workforce alleging age discrimination

DETROIT (AP) — A pair of former Detroit Tigers scouts sued the team, alleging age discrimination over their terminations after the 2020 season.

Gary Pellant and Randall Johnson filed the suit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, claiming a shift toward analytics was accompanied by a “false stereotype” that older scouts lacked acumen for newer scouting tools.

They claim wrongful termination and post-termination employment interference in violation of the Age Discrimination and Enforcement Act of 1967 and violations of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, a Michigan law that took effect in 1977. They also alleged disparate treatment age discrimination and/or disparate impact age discrimination in violation of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

They asked for back pay, front pay and compensatory and punitive damages.

The Tigers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Seventeen former Major League Baseball scouts sued the league, its teams and Commissioner Rob Manfred in June in U.S. District Court in Denver. They alleged violations of ADEA along with laws in 11 states and New York City.

Pellant, 68, is from Chandler, Arizona, and Johnson, 67, is from Valley Center, California. The pair said they worked for multiple teams for more than 20 years before they were let go by the Tigers on Oct. 31, 2020. The suit did not specify which other teams they worked for or when they were hired by the Tigers.

“Plaintiffs are among hundreds if not thousands of employees to be separated from employment with defendant in the last eight years as a result of a decision by the defendant and the MLB to replace older employees with younger employees,” the complaint said.

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The suit added that after Manfred became commissioner in January 2015, “MLB endeavored to begin heavily recruiting younger scouts, at the same time intentionally pushing out from the older scouts with prior knowledge, qualifications, expertise, and training, based on a false stereotype that older scouts lacked the ability to use analytics and engage in video scouting with the same acumen as younger scouts.”

The pair said they were among four Tigers scouts over 60 who were terminated and remaining scouts ranged in age from early 20s to early 50s. The suit said 51 of at least 83 “older scouts” were let go among the 30 teams.

“Defendant claims they terminated plaintiffs due to the financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the suit alleged. “COVID-19 was a pretextual reason to terminate plaintiffs’ employment.”

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB



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Felecia Phillips Ollie DD (h.c.) is the inspiring leader and founder of The Equality Network LLC (TEN). With a background in coaching, travel, and a career in news, Felecia brings a unique perspective to promoting diversity and inclusion. Holding a Bachelor's Degree in English/Communications, she is passionate about creating a more inclusive future. From graduating from Mississippi Valley State University to leading initiatives like the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Equal Employment Opportunity Program, Felecia is dedicated to making a positive impact. Join her journey on our blog as she shares insights and leads the charge for equity through The Equality Network.

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