17 Talent Scouts Sue MLB for Ageism

Photo Credit: Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press

The MLB has recently come under scrutiny over alleged ageism against older scouts that pride themselves in their abilities to scour colleges and universities for players looking for a potential shot at the big leagues. These formerly employed veteran scouts filed suit at the U.S. District Court in Denver on Wednesday. League commissioner, Rob Manfred is named as well as each of the 30 major league clubs as defendants. 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.

Robert Goodman, the lead attorney representing the scouts, said they drew “inspiration” from the minor league players who sued over violations of federal and state wage laws and settled with the league for $185 million. In this case, the suit alleges violations of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act and 12 states’ laws against age discrimination.“We believe the commissioner and the owners colluded to eliminate veteran personnel because of salaries,” said Rick Ingalls, who helped organize the scouts into plaintiffs. Ingalls was let go by the Cincinnati Reds in 2018 after a 37-year career as a Southern California-based amateur scout, the first 20 years with the Angels.“When Major League Baseball makes a big deal about traditions, and honoring those traditions, and then it does something like this, it’s destroying its own brand,” lead attorney Robert Goodman said.

“If you’re trying to be America’s pastime and then suddenly people who have been involved in America’s pastime for 30 or 40 or 50 years are completely locked out, there is something wrong.” MLB issued a statement in response to the filing.“ We do not comment on pending litigation,” the statement read. “However, we look forward to refuting these claims in court.” Ingalls, 71, who lives in Long Beach, was 67 when he said the Reds let him go and “hired a 27-year-old kid” to do his job. He filed an age-discrimination suit against the team that was resolved out of court. He began taking Social Security payments and the pension he accrued earlier in his career — most teams have discontinued pension plans during the last decade — and says he is “actually OK” financially. The ongoing case includes 17 scouts and these plaintiffs are seeking class-action certification.

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