Red Card: Discrimination on the Soccer Field.

On Thursday, June 6, 2013, two former youth coaches for the Chivas USA soccer team filed a lawsuit alleging ethnic discrimination. But this is not your typical case of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity; the plaintiffs are white males who were fired along with eight other white employees. They claim that they were intentionally discriminated against because they are not of Latino descent.

The men both worked for over a year as coaches for Chivas USA Academy, the Major League Soccer team’s youth soccer program.  The lawsuit claims that the team’s owner harassed them and other non-Mexican and non-Latino employees. It also claims that the team required coaches to gather national origin and ethnicity information about the academy’s players and the players’ parents but were not told how this information would be used. In January, one of the plaintiffs/coaches met with the team’s president to discuss his concerns. The president allegedly informed him that the team planned to implement the Mexican-only policy of its counterpart in Guadalajara, Mexico. The complaining coach was suspended shortly thereafter, and both coaches were fired by March.

Race and national origin discrimination are prohibited under both federal and California law. Just as the law prohibits an employer from taking adverse action against an employee because he or she was born in a foreign country or is of a certain race or ethnicity, it also prohibits favoring minority or foreign-born employees over others. Cases like this are sometimes known as reverse discrimination cases.