A 65-year-old former Dodger scout is suing the organization, alleging he was not retained for the 2021 season because of his age.
Timothy Schmidt’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges wrongful termination, age discrimination and failure to prevent discrimination. He seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in the suit brought Friday.
A Dodger spokesman said the team does not comment on pending litigation.
Schmidt was hired by the Dodgers in September 2017 and his duties required him to scout professional baseball players in various locations including in San Bernardino County, where he lived, the suit states. An accomplished, experienced baseball scout with a long and deep connection with baseball spanning over four decades, Schmidt played Division I collegiate baseball at Santa Clara University, where his team won the conference championship and advanced to the NCAA District 8, according to the suit.
After graduation, Schmidt played professional baseball overseas and then coached baseball at UC Riverside before beginning a 31-year career in 1989 as a Major League Baseball scout, the suit states.
Schmidt did amateur scouting for various MLB organizations including the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners and Miami Marlins, the suit states. From 2001-20, Schmidt worked as both a professional scout and a special assignment scout for various MLB organizations including the Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, the Los Angeles Angels and ultimately the Dodgers, according to the suit.
About 15 scouts, including Schmidt, were employed within the Dodgers Pro Scouting Department during the 2020 MLB season and the plaintiff was the oldest and one of four over age 60, the suit states. About four of the 15 were newly hired and under age 35 and three of the four had never been employed as an MLB Scout in any capacity, the suit states.
In March 2020, MLB cancelled the remainder of spring training and postponed the start of the regular season due to the coronavirus. On July 1, 2020, MLB spring training resumed and a shortened MLB season began on or about July 23. 2020.
Despite the COVID-19 interruptions, Schmidt performed his scouting duties, working from his San Bernardino home, the suit states. But last Sept. 15, the Dodgers told Schmidt, who was 64 at the time, that he would not be retained for the 2021 season, according to the suit. When the plaintiff asked why he was being stripped of his job, the team refused to respond, the suit states.
The Dodgers also declined to rehire four other pro scouts over age 40, including the other three who were in their 60s, the suit states. None of those 35 or younger lost their jobs, according to the suit.