On April 24, 2020, Major League Baseball (“MLB”) Umpire Angel Hernandez filed a motion for partial summary judgment against the professional baseball league, arguing that the MLB’s promotion and postseason assignment policies for umpires are discriminatory. As outlined in Hernandez’s motion, prior to the filing of his lawsuit in 2017, the MLB promoted only one minority umpire to the position of permanent crew chief in its over one-hundred-year history.
Throughout his 27-year tenure, Hernandez has consistently received exceptional ratings from the MLB for his performance, including a remarkable 96.88% accuracy rating on calling balls and strikes in 2016. Hernandez successfully served as an interim crew chief for the majority of the 2012 season and during parts of every season between 2011 and 2016. Despite these qualifications, the MLB passed over the Cuban-born Hernandez for promotion to crew chief and excluded him from working any World Series games since 2005, while at the same time promoting other less experienced, lower-rated white umpires to such prestigious positions.
The lawsuit is significant, for showcasing that workers may face discrimination even in the most high-profile industries, including professional sports. Workers who believe they were subjected to discrimination or other workplace violations should seek legal counsel to analyze their potential claims.
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About Patrick J. Collopy
Patrick J. Collopy is an Associate in Faruqi & Faruqi’s New York office and focuses his practice on employment law and wage and hour class action litigation.