Dan Calichman and Theothoros Chronopoulo have filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against Major League Soccer (MLS) team Chivas USA alleging that the club fired them because of their national origin. Neither Calichman nor Chronopoulo are Latino.
In the national origin discrimination suit, the two men recounted a meeting last fall with Jose Vergara, ownder of Chivas USA, in which he informed the group that those who didn’t speak Spanish should find work with the Galaxy, another MLS team.
Chivas has since issued a statement noting that it respects diversity, but curiously missing from its assertion that it does not discriminate against others based on “gender, health, religion, opinion or physical disabilities” is the presence of national origin.
Both California and federal employment anti-discrimination laws prevent treating a worker differently simply on the basis of his or her country of origin, ancestry, native language or a surname associated with a specific country.
According to the employment discrimination suit, Chivas USA has terminated seven employees of the Chivas Academy who were non-Latino. The Academy is tasked with developing young talent that may eventually go on to play professionally for the organization.
The lawsuit also asserts that no Latino employees have been let go during the same time frame.
Chronopoulo was the director of the Academy program as well as a coach for Chivas. Calichman was a coach and reported to Chronopoulo. Both coaches reported what they believed to be discriminatory practices to Chivas’ human resources and the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment. Both were terminated for conduct that was cited as being unprofessional after the complaints were made.
Source: SCPR, “Former Chivas USA employees file racial discrimination lawsuit,” May 31, 2012