For the second time in less than three months, Chivas USA have apparently been sued by a former employee, this time former human resources manager Cynthia Craig. According to this story from the Daily Breeze, Craig, who is African American, left her job at the club in July after months of harassment from owner Jorge Vergara and president Jose David, on account of the fact that she could not speak Spanish and was not Latino.
The Daily Breeze story also says that Craig claims in the filing, made in Los Angeles Superior Court, that she was told to hire four coaches from Mexico earlier this season, despite the fact that they did not have proper legal status to work in the U.S. After she refused, the club apparently paid them through some other, presumably illegal, means.
You may recall Craig was mentioned in the first lawsuit filed against the club this year, by former Academy coaches Teddy Chronopoulos and Dan Calichman, for her role in a meeting held with David near the end of their tenure, before being fired. Based on the filing in that case, Craig repeatedly attempted to prevent David from saying things that could be construed as discriminatory, but David essentially shrugged her off and said them anyway. That, of course, provides some initial evidence in Chronopoulos and Calichman's case that they were wrongfully dismissed on the basis of nationality and language.
I am trying to track down Craig's lawsuit filing, but have not found it yet, to see all of the details. Although Craig was not named in the coaches' lawsuit, she will presumably be required to provide a deposition and testify at length if that suit progresses. Now that she's filed a suit of her own, basically along the lines of the first, I'm not sure what bearing that would have on both cases. One key difference is that Calichman and Chronopoulos were fired, while Craig left her job of her own accord, which probably makes the nature of the case rather different. Of course, as an insider of what took place at the company at the highest administrative levels until last month, her perspective is pretty unique, and it will be interesting to see if she does any press about her experiences in the near future.
The illegal employment of coaches angle alleged in the lawsuit is also a new wrinkle. Although again, I'm getting this information secondhand at the moment, I can think of two reasons why the coaches (presumably Chelís' coaching staff) did not have the proper visa to work in the U.S. One could be that the club did not file the paperwork in time and just decided to forego it altogether out of convenience. The other could be that the visa applications were rejected because there was not a strong enough case that sufficient assistant coaches could not be found already in the legal U.S. working pool (and wouldn't that be ironic?). Of course, this is mere speculation on my part, but those are two possible scenarios.
Much like the other lawsuit, these are all allegations at this stage, and the process by which the case will be determined will take many years, if it isn't settled in the meantime. We'll keep track of the story, and let you know when we find out additional details or developments.
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