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Thursday, May 26, 2022

MLB, in memo, rebukes clubs for ‘unacceptable’ workplace facilities for women employees

In a pointed letter to teams last week, Major League Baseball said numerous clubs’ stadiums “fall embarrassingly below the high standards” necessary for women who are part of the game’s traveling parties to do their jobs, create an “untenable working environment” and that organizations soon must reconfigure their facilities to fix what the league deemed “unacceptable,” according to a copy of the memo obtained by ESPN.

The letter, sent May 20 by MLB senior vice president of on-field operations Michael Hill to general managers, assistant general managers and some ballpark-operations staff, highlighted the issues a wide array of women—including coaches, trainers, analysts, translators, mental-health professionals, massage therapists, player-development employees and others—face because of substandard facilities. MLB regulations laid out in a March 16, 2021, memo require that women staffers for home and road teams receive a clean locker room space that is close to the main clubhouse, private and includes a restroom and shower.

“Over the first six weeks of the season,” the memo said, “it has become clear that a number of Clubs are not in compliance with these requirements, particularly with respect to hosting women on visiting teams.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 26, 2022 at 10:12 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: women in baseball

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: May 27, 2022 at 12:09 AM (#6078629)
a) good for MLB. The commish's office is usually carrying water for the clubs, calling out clubs like this seems rare.

b) One for the lawyers: from the inherently evil corporate lawyer's perspective, was this a smart or dumb thing for MLB to put in writing? Seems to me this memo would be handy for any plaintiff in a future lawsuit.
   2. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 27, 2022 at 12:31 AM (#6078631)
Seems to me this memo would be handy for any plaintiff in a future lawsuit.
Most employees aren’t going to bring a lawsuit just on second tier restrooms & storage facilities - damages wouldn’t be that great - so it’s not likely to come up unless it’s part of a larger claim. The article indicates that the problem is mostly with facilities for the visiting team traveling parties, so for many the problem isn’t with their direct employer. For a variety of reasons, the smart move is to remedy the situation, rather than let it color other employment matters, such as hiring, promotion, discipline & termination, which are more likely to lead to a complaint and/or lawsuit, and can give rise to significant damages.
   3. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 27, 2022 at 08:47 AM (#6078642)
b) One for the lawyers: from the inherently evil corporate lawyer's perspective, was this a smart or dumb thing for MLB to put in writing? Seems to me this memo would be handy for any plaintiff in a future lawsuit.

IANAL but I did work in HR for about 15 years. My sense of this is this is actually pretty smart. By doing this MLB can sit on the witness stand and say "look at this memo, we told the teams to get their #### together and if they didn't do that it's their fault, not ours."

I'll give you a semi-related example. Every year we would have a big holiday party with an open bar. I always would send an email out the week before the party telling people drinking and driving was not OK and that the company would pay for cabs home and cabs to come back and get their cars the next day, no questions asked. Part of that was genuine concern but a lot of the intent was if something happened being able to say "hey, we took steps to make sure no one drove drunk."
   4. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 27, 2022 at 04:38 PM (#6078709)
Is it in MLB's best interest to throw teams under the bus? I mean shifting the blame to teams doesn't lessen the damage to the whole.
   5. Zach Posted: May 27, 2022 at 05:30 PM (#6078718)
It reduces the damage if the teams get off their butts and do something about it.

But more to the point, making sure that teams provide adequate facilities for the visitors is in everybody's interest.
   6. Cris E Posted: May 27, 2022 at 05:39 PM (#6078719)
I'm sure the memo didn't name any teams, but was more of a "Listen, there are more and more women in this game and they're not going anywhere. It's time to get moving."
   7. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: May 27, 2022 at 06:00 PM (#6078721)
While I think it's good for them to do it, it seems like they may have been better served to not publicize the memo while making sure teams fall in line. If that's possible.
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: May 27, 2022 at 06:02 PM (#6078722)
It does say who released the memo, only that ESPN obtained a copy.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: May 27, 2022 at 08:47 PM (#6078734)
Jose ... sure but MLB as a separate entity from the teams isn't that important a thing for the corporation to protect. "Hey we told the Yankees to clean up their act, go get your payout from them" isn't gonna go over very well nor do MLB much good. (As #4 states)

Contrasted with your example which is both a good idea and the corporation covering their butt. But the MLB corporate structure isn't like yours (I assume). I'm not sure there are any non-sports examples. McDonald's sending memos to franchisees is somewhat similar but in that case, the deep pockets are McDonald's Corp not the individual restaurants so the ass-covering aspect holds. On the other hand, I'm sure it would do the Yankees no good in court to say "if only we'd gottten a memo on this from MLB..."

Again, to try to be as clear as possible, doing this is good, teams should be providing appropriate facilities (and I suspect there are Fed/state regulations requiring them to do so) and to the extent some teams are lagging, they should get their act together.
   10. Adam Starblind Posted: May 28, 2022 at 10:18 AM (#6078794)
No chance this wasn’t vetted with a group of the villainous corporate lawyers you mention.
   11. John Northey Posted: May 28, 2022 at 05:13 PM (#6078871)
I think it also depends on which clubs are flopping. I'd bet on the cheap ones like Tampa and Oakland who play in older parks with well known poor facilities. In those cases this could be used as leverage on cities who own the stadiums or heavily subsidize them to improve facilities. Newer parks should automatically have better setups.

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