Former Mets VP Files Lawsuit Against Team And COO For Pregnancy Discrimination

While many Los Angeles baseball fans likely pay attention to the record of and news related to the Los Angeles Dodgers, few likely pay much attention to news surrounding the New York Mets. A recent lawsuit that was filed by the team’s former senior vice president of ticket sales isn’t helping boost morale for or the image of the struggling baseball franchise.

Hired by the Mets in 2010, under Leigh Castergine tickets sales for Mets games increased substantially. For her efforts, the first female senior vice president of ticket sales was rewarded handsomely with raises and bonuses totaling $225,000 for the years 2012 and 2013 alone.

However, despite accomplishing a seemingly herculean task of “increasing sales of $84 million in 2013,” last month Castergine was fired by the Mets. While team officials contend she was fired for not meeting sales goals, Castergine asserts she was the victim of pregnancy harassment and discrimination. 

In Sep. 2013, Castergine announced her pregnancy to her employer. From that day forward, she contends she was the subject of ridicule, harassment and discrimination by Mets COO, Jeff Wilpon. According to the lawsuit, Wilpon routinely and openly expressed his disapproval of the fact that Castergine was pregnant and not married.

The lawsuit provides examples of Wilpon’s discriminatory behavior including comments made in a business meeting discussing e-cigarettes ads in Citi stadium in which Wilpon is alleged to have said he was as opposed to e-cig ads as “Leigh having this baby without being married.” In another conversation, Wilpon reportedly told a colleague he believed “Castergine should be married before having a baby.” 

At the time of her firing, Castergine refused a severance package which barred her from suing the Mets or Wilpon. She is seeking to recover monetary damages and both the Mets and Wilpon are named as defendants.

Today, more women than ever work outside the home and a growing percentage hold executive positions within U.S. companies and organizations. Unfortunately, despite their many and varied accomplishments, some women continue to face workplace discrimination and harassment related to their sex, age, race, religion and decision to have a baby. 

Source: New York Daily News, “Mets co-owner Jeff Wilpon accused of discrimination against pregnant, unmarried former executive in bombshell lawsuit,” John Marzulli, Sep. 10, 2014

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