A group of former Major League Baseball scouts sued commissioner Rob Manfred, the league office and all 30 teams on Wednesday, contending age discrimination, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Denver and contends MLB "blacklisted" older scouts and used the pandemic and the trend toward analytics as a "pretext for coordinated and systemic discrimination based on age."
The lawsuit alleges MLB and the teams violated the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act and age discrimination laws in 12 states.
"We believe the commissioner and the owners colluded to eliminate veteran personnel because of salaries," Rick Ingalls, who was a scout for 37 years, told the Times.
Major League Baseball released a statement later Wednesday.
"We do not comment on pending litigation. However, we look forward to refuting these claims in court," read the league's statement.
Named as plaintiffs in the suit are 17 former scouts between the ages of 55 and 71. All but one had at least 24 years' experience. The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status that could grow the case to involve more than 100 "older" scouts and a request for at least $100 million in lost wages and damages.
Per the Times, the suit contends that MLB stopped posting notices when scouts became available to hire, listed older scouts who shouldn't be hired and used the pandemic as "an opportunity to terminate an entire class of older employees."
Ingalls told the Times that some of the scouts are in financial straits.
"These guys, when they're let go, they're not given a year of severance, they have no health insurance, no paycheck," Ingalls said. "A lot of guys who are 55-60 when they're fired can't take pensions without penalties until they're 65. They can't get social security until they're 62. They have no health insurance.
"A lot of these guys who we're fighting for are losing their homes. They have kids, and the cost of (health) insurance is off the charts."
--Field Level Media