Former longtime Phillies scout Hank King has filed a federal age-discrimination lawsuit against the organization, alleging that it created an "intolerable" working environment and that the team ultimately fired him because of his age and a liver virus that caused him to take a medical leave in September 2009.
King, 66, worked for the Phillies from 1976 through the 2009 season, starting out as a batting-practice pitcher before joining the scouting department in 1983. King was part of an advance scouting team that shadowed the Tampa Bay Rays before the Phillies' World Series victory in 2008.
The lawsuit alleges that the Phillies discriminated against King, who the previous month had taken a medical leave for a liver virus, in demoting him to pro scout and reducing his $104,000 salary by 35 percent in October 2009.
It alleges that he and fellow scout Jerry Lafferty were fired by the Phillies with "no legitimate business reason," and points out that the Phillies replaced them with Dan Wright and former Phillies player Dave Hollins.
"Both Wright and Hollins are significantly younger, less qualified and less experienced than King and Lafferty to serve in the role of Pro Scouts," the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit, which alleges that the firing violates the Age Discrimination and Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
A Phillies spokesman declined to comment on the specifics of the suit, citing the fact that it is pending litigation. *