Former employees sue NFL team for age, race discrimination

Tennessee sports fans may be interested to learn that the Detroit Lions are being sued by two former employees for alleged age and racial discrimination. The complaint was filed in the Wayne County Circuit Court on April 5.

The employees, who are 58 and 52, both performed video operation duties for the Lions. The 58-year-old, a man of Japanese descent, was hired as the director of video operation in 2004. The 52-year-old, an African-American man, began working for the organization as a janitor in 1989 and eventually made his way up to assistant video director.

According to the lawsuit, both men were wrongfully terminated from their positions in January after complaining about racial comments made by other Lions employees. Before his firing, the 52-year-old also told the human resources department that he was subjected to "disparate treatment" by someone who worked in the team operations department. The plaintiffs' attorney said that her clients are seeking financial compensation for lost wages. They are also seeking monetary damages for the emotional distress their firings caused them. The lawsuit does not specify the amount of damages sought, but court stipulations require the amount to exceed $25,000. On May 9, the Lions issued a statement acknowledging that the team was aware of the lawsuit.

State and federal laws forbid employers from discriminating against employees based on a number of protected categories, including age and race. Employees who have suffered workplace discrimination may want to discuss their situations with legal counsel. An attorney could evaluate the case and recommend the best ways to document the incidents of discrimination. This evidence could then be used to file a legal action or negotiate a settlement.

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