MLB umpire Angel Hernandez has filed a lawsuit against the league and commissioner Rob Manfred alleging “racial discrimination in baseball's promotion and postseason assignment policies,” according to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s James Pilcher.
Hernandez, 55, says in the suit that MLB has repeatedly passed him over for possible World Series assignments “despite high marks on evaluations.”
There are nearly 100 umpires employed by MLB, yet only “about 10 are African-American or Hispanic,” according to research by the Enquirer. Only one non-white umpire has worked a World Series since 2011, and only one minority umpire has ever been permanently assigned as a crew chief.
That’s a significantly different breakdown from the player demographics, which show that 31.9 percent of players are Latino and 42.5 percent are non-white, according to the 2017 Racial and Gender Report Card.
"The selection of these less qualified, white individuals over Hernandez was motivated by racial, national origin and/or ethnic considerations," the lawsuit says.
Hernandez, who has been an umpire with MLB since 1993, worked the World Series in 2002 and 2005, but has not received the assignment since then. There’s extra compensation for umpires who work the World Series, so missing those assignments is a lost opportunity at more income. The suit also alleges he has been passed over as a potential permanent crew chief on multiple occasions.
Hernandez filed two discrimination charges last month with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. His suit against MLB and Manfred seeks back pay and unspecified compensatory damages.