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Ironbirds settle gender discrimination suit

The Aberdeen IronBirds have settled a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee.

Terms of the settlement between the Baltimore Orioles’ minor-league affiliate, owned by Cal Ripken Jr., and former assistant ticket sales manager Jenna Raglani were not disclosed.

“The case has been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of both parties,” said John Maroon, a spokesman for Ripken Professional Baseball LLC, which operates the IronBirds and oversees the business and philanthropic work of Cal and Bill Ripken.

David E. Schreiber, a Bethesda solo practitioner and Raglani’s lawyer, declined to comment on the settlement.

Raglani’s lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in December, claimed she was fired for violating the team’s “anti-fraternization” policy even though male employees were not fired for similar offenses.

Despite the IronBirds’ anti-fraternization policy, dating and “romantic conduct” among upper management and subordinate employees were “commonplace,” and the policy “was never strictly enforced,” according to the lawsuit.

Judge Catherine C. Blake rejected the team’s argument in April that the case should be dismissed because it should have been submitted to arbitration as called for under a dispute resolution clause in her contract.

Raglani, in her lawsuit, said she told her supervisor when she began dating co-worker Brian Magee in 2011. The supervisor, General Manger Aaron Moszer, “condoned the relationship,” the complaint states.

That changed after Raglani and Magee kissed at a party hosted by two IronBirds employees on June 18, 2011. News of the relationship circulated among IronBirds employees, and Moszer initiated a confidential “investigation” into the details of the party, according to the lawsuit.

The IronBirds claimed Raglani was fired in part for obstructing the investigation. Raglani said she found out about the investigation from a co-worker who had been interviewed but stopped asking questions after she learned the investigation was confidential, according the lawsuit.

Raglani claimed she told Magee to tell Moszer the truth about their relationship. Magee did not initially, but in a follow-up interview told Moszer about their relationship and tried to “shift the blame to Raglani by claiming she ‘coached’ him to be dishonest the night before,” the lawsuit states.

When Raglani was interviewed during the investigation, she acknowledged dating Magee and noted that Moszer had condoned the relationship. She was subsequently fired, according to the complaint.

Raglani filed a discrimination charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in October 2011 and received a right-to-sue letter a year later.

Raglani sued under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act, the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act and Maryland common law. She sought unspecified damages for back pay, front pay, compensatory and punitive damages and an award of attorneys’ fees and costs.

RAGLANI V. RIPKEN PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL LLC

Court:

U.S. District Court, Baltimore

Case No.:

1:12-cv-03682-CCB

Judge:

Catherine C. Blake

Outcome:

Confidential settlement

Dates:

Event: June 2011

Suit filed: Dec. 17, 2012

Settlement order: Oct. 1, 2013

Plaintiff’s Attorney:

David E Schreiber, Bethesda solo practitioner

Defendant’s Attorneys:

Kevin C McCormick of Whiteford Taylor and Preston LLP in Baltimore, Leslie Paul Machado of LeClair Ryan PC in Washington, D.C.

Counts:

Gender discrimination, negligent training and supervision, wrongful discharge, breach of contract.