A lawsuit has been filed against California Major League Soccer Association club Chivas USA. Two former coaches at the club’s youth academy allege that they were fired because they did not speak Spanish, and their claims are reportedly based on statements made last year by the club’s owner during a franchise meeting. He allegedly advised those in attendance to go work for another club if they did not speak Spanish. One of the coaches involved states that he was directed to collect information on the nationalities of the youth academy participants and their parents. Evidence in support of the wrongful termination and racial discrimination claims is still being collected.
The two coaches assert that they submitted written complaints to club officials expressing their concerns. They state that the club officials said they would look into the allegations of racial discrimination and harassment. However, the two coaches claim that no actions were taken in relation to their complaints and that they were asked to resign shortly thereafter. When they declined to do so, they were suspended and then terminated.
So far, there has been no comment by MLS of which Chivas USA is a member. The club’s owner has made previous statements in the media regarding his desire to return the club to its original ethnic heritage. However, as Chivas USA is incorporated and operating as a company in the United States, it is required to comply with all applicable federal and state employment laws. Dismissing an employee or refusing to hire a prospective employee based on that person’s race, creed or ethnicity is in direct violation of those laws. When these laws are violated by individuals or corporations, those who have been victims of this type of discrimination may be entitled to legal relief.
California, among other states, has a rich cultural makeup that has served it well in all areas of commerce, government and education. It has also been a leader in assuring that the rights of employees against racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination are protected. It is hoped that the outcome of this wrongful termination action will reflect that commitment to protecting the rights of workers in California.
Source: The Daily Breeze, “Chivas USA coaches file suit alleging they were fired because they don’t speak Spanish,” Nick Green, May 29, 2013