The highest-ranking Hispanic woman in a management position at Major League Baseball headquarters said in a lawsuit on Thursday she has faced discrimination there for two decades.
Sylvia Lind’s lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, seeks unspecified damages for what she describes as a failure by the league to consider, interview, appoint and promote qualified Hispanic women to managerial and executive positions. Lind, 48, says the league has created a hostile work environment for her because of her age.
Lind, the league’s director of baseball initiatives in its Office of the Commissioner, names as defendants the league, Commissioner Bud Selig and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who supervised her.
“The claims in this suit are absolutely without merit,” MLB spokesperson John Blundell told the New York Post. “Since this is ongoing litigation we cannot comment further.’
The lawsuit says Lind works in an industry dominated by white men and has been passed over for promotions and underpaid since 1995.
Lind said Hispanics are underrepresented in the management level while baseball has a high percentage of Hispanic players. She said of 52 people who are vice presidents or above only two are Hispanic and only 12 are women.
According to the lawsuit, Lind, who is of Cuban descent and lives in New Jersey, earned her law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 1995. It says she began working for Major League Baseball on Nov. 21, 1995, as supervisor in the legal department of MLB Properties Inc. at an annual salary of $43,000.
She said she was the only Hispanic female lawyer in the legal department at the time and no Hispanic attorneys have been hired since.
Lind said her troubles with the league worsened after Robinson, who played for several teams between 1956 and 1976, became executive vice president of baseball development in June 2012 and criticized her writing and other skills.
She said Robinson, who won rookie of the year and MVP honors with the Cincinnati Reds and MVP with the Baltimore Orioles, lacked the educational credentials, professional license and executive experience to qualify for the job, which paid him more than $1 million annually.
Lind said the league’s discriminatory conduct was carried out even as she was assigned to plan, advance and promote the league’s annual Civil Rights Game.
“While plaintiff has always maintained a professional demeanor to the public and endeavored to do what is in the best interest for MLB, it has been extremely disheartening, utterly demoralizing and extraordinarily taxing on her, both emotionally and psychologically, to almost singlehandedly perpetuate what she has known to be the diversity and equal employment opportunity falsehood,” the lawsuit said.