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Former stadium announcer Bob Sarlatte suing 49ers for age discrimination [PDF]

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The San Francisco 49ers are facing another age discrimination lawsuit. Former in-stadium announcer Bob Sarlatte is suing the team claiming his dismissal in 2014 was due to his age. I've embedded the full lawsuit below.

This is the third such age discrimination lawsuit brought against the 49ers. The first two were filed against the 49ers, Jed York, and Does 1 through 50 (to cover for any new defendants that might arise). This lawsuit is against the 49ers and Does 1 through 10. We discussed those first two lawsuits here. It is worth noting the 49ers eventually settled with those two plaintiffs last October.

This is interesting timing. Sarlatte was fired in 2014, but did not file this lawsuit until yesterday. Obviously he could take some time, but I would bet good money he saw those settlements and realized he might be able to get something out of this. I mention those previous two lawsuits specifically because Sarlatte's complaint includes several instances of identical language from the first two lawsuits. Paragraphs 14 and 15 are used to establish evidence that the team would be looking to get rid of older workers, and is pulled from the previous lawsuit.

This does not mean Sarlatte is just looking for a cash grab. It is certainly possible, but I also would not be surprised if there were issues of age-ism. The lawsuits both mention Jed York talking about re-branding the 49ers as a tech start-up within the NFL. Silicon Valley does not have the best reputation when it comes to age-ism, so assumptions in that regard might not be entirely unfounded.

The 49ers decision to settle the previous lawsuit does not mean an admission of guilt. It is possible the 49ers settled because they did not want to go to a jury trial. I would not blame them in that regard. If the 49ers wanted to save on legal fees, so be it, but whether they were guilty of age discrimination or not, they are setting themselves up for additional such charges. I kind of would like to see one of these go to trial just so we can get a little more insight through testimony, discovery, and so forth.

The 49ers are not the first team to deal with age discrimination lawsuits. The Raiders won a lawsuit, while the Chiefs won one, and were compelled to go to arbitration in the other one. I guess we'll wait and see if the 49ers settle, or if they take this one into the trial process.

Bob Sarlatte age discrimination lawsuit vs. 49ers