Cavaliers And Dan Gilbert Sued After Signaling A Strategy To Hire Younger Coaches
The Cleveland Cavaliers and its owner Dan Gilbert have been sued by a former coach in the organization. James Boylan, who was first hired by the Cavaliers in 1992 as an Assistant Coach to Lenny Wilkens and most recently coached under head coach Tyronn Lue, claims that he was the victim of age discrimination.
On June 17, Boylan says that he received a troubling voicemail from Lue, who informed him that his employment was coming to an end.
“Jimbo, what’s up, yo? This is Lue. had talk with Koby [Altman] yesterday. He does not want to pick up your option. He said it way too much money. Theyre not gonna pay that kind of money for three assistants on the bench. He wants to go younger in that position and, you know, find somebody who’s grinder and younger in that position. And he said he does not want to pick the option up for guess it 500 or not sure. He said five something. And he just said it’s too much money, he said, so we’ll be paying Longabardi and LD. So he just said he wanted to go younger at that position and he does not want to pick up the option.”
That was allegedly the first part of the voicemail, which referenced a conversation with Altman, who was promoted to the position of General Manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers in July 2017.
Boylan claims that he had a conversation with Altman following receipt of the voicemail and that Altman confirmed that he and owner Gilbert wanted a “younger” coach in Boylan’s position. He allegedly also told Boylan that the termination of his employment had nothing to do with his job performance.
“Defendants have pattern and practice of age discrimination across Defendant Gilbert’s corporate organizations in which he owns equity and controlling interest, and in his affiliated enterprises, including the Cavaliers and corporate Defendants,” states the Complaint. “Defendants discriminate against employees and candidates for employment on the basis of age with respect to hiring, renewal, termination, pay, raises, benefits, and in the terms and conditions of employment. Defendants discriminatorily favor younger less qualified candidates and employees over substantially older employees.”
In May, a former Executive Vice President, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer filed a retaliation lawsuit against the Cavaliers, complaining that she was retaliated against, in violation of Ohio law, after she was advised of an employee’s claim of discrimination, observed members of the organization deleting electronically stored evidence related to the incident and verbally raised concerns to the Cavaliers’ in-house counsel.
After firing Boylan, the Cleveland Cavaliers organization hired, retained or promoted several Assistant Coaches under the age of forty-six.
Boylan seeks an amount of relief in excess of $25,000. The case was filed in the Court of Common Pleas in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.