Atlanta Braves deny claims made in lawsuit filed by deaf job candidate

General view of Truist Park with "715" painted on the field in honor of Hank Aaron before the game between the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets on April 8, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/Getty Images)

The Atlanta Braves organization is strongly denying allegations made by a job candidate in a federal lawsuit, claiming he was not hired due to his deafness. Clyde McKinney of Alabama filed the lawsuit against the Atlanta National League Baseball Club, LLC, which owns the Atlanta Braves, in April.

McKinney asserts that he was a top candidate for an IT position until his final interview, which he says shifted focus from his qualifications to his disability. He recounts being asked about his experience at a Deaf Awareness event hosted by the Braves, an inquiry he compares to asking an African American candidate about an HBCU Night promotional event.

Furthermore, McKinney claims that the team's concerns over the potential costs of accommodating his disability outweighed their consideration of his professional achievements. He also alleges that a recruiter initially indicated he would be hired for a different role, but communication ceased after he disclosed that he had filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

With over 20 years of experience as a data and network systems engineer, McKinney is seeking compensation for lost wages and economic opportunities, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

The Braves counter that McKinney failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and delayed too long in filing his complaint after receiving a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC. The organization is urging the court to dismiss the lawsuit.