USA Cricket face civil rights lawsuit from terminated contractor

Foundational Plan

USA Cricket will have to deal with yet another lawsuit this summer, as former contractor Kirk Greaves has sued the board for employment discrimination, seeking a total of $2 million in damages.

According to the complaint, Kirk Greaves, an African American and veteran in franchise cricket circles throughout the region with CPL and GT20, was hired as a contractor by USA Cricket* on February 22, 2021, as a “diversity hire,” after USA Cricket had rejected a white Australian for the position of Cricket Operations Manager.

USA Cricket have released an official statement on the matter: 

“USA Cricket is aware of various details of a lawsuit being brought by a former contractor against USA Cricket. The individual is one of a number of contractors previously engaged by USA Cricket whose contracts were recently not renewed. All allegations in the lawsuit are entirely false and without merit, and USA Cricket denies and will aggressively defend against them. The matter is currently in the hands of USA Cricket’s lawyers. We look forward to the case being dismissed in due course and will not be making any further comment at this time.”

Upon being hired, Greaves alleges that he was tasked by USA Cricket CEO, Iain Higgins, with delivering four national cricket events within a four month period, and that upon successful completion of these events, a “full-time contract of employment would be offered.”

At the end of this period, Greaves alleges that Higgins instead offered a six month review, which took place in December of 2021, and that at this meeting, Higgins “made a further request to consider the full-time contract in January 2022 when the International Cricket Council funding was scheduled to be received.” 

Greaves alleges that USA instead reduced their offer to him in order to raise their offer to a green card holder and New Zealand citizen (who is white) for another position. Greaves claims his position title was then changed from Cricket Operations Manager to Events Manager, and his ranking in the USA Cricket organizational chart was lowered as a result, a title and organizational change that was only made known to Greaves when he escalated his complaint to USA Cricket Chairman of the Board, Paraag Marathe on January 9, 2022.

On March 28, 2022, Richard Done presented Kirk Greaves with a “Termination of Contract” letter, which Greaves refused to sign. 

Greaves’ alleges discrimination based on race and national origin, alleging in the lawsuit that “There has been a pattern of practice of bringing in individuals from Australia, New Zealand, and other countries on the pretext that cricket is a new sport in the U.S. While cricket is a new sport in the U.S., discriminating against American nationals in favor of foreigners violates 42 U.S.C. §2000e, et seq.” The subchapter referenced pertains to US Employment Discrimination Civil Rights Code, specifically Equal Employment Opportunity. 

After being presented with the letter of termination, Greaves alleges that the validity of the decision was reinforced by the chairman, “in accordance with the decision of the Cricket Committee and with the Board’s agreement.” Male player director Srini Salvar replied to an email sent by Greaves to members of the board informing them of the chairman’s response, saying “your termination was never recommended by the Cricket Committee and was not discussed in the board meeting.” 

At the heart of Greaves’ complaint seems to be the fact that the original job posting, to which Greaves replied, was for full time employment for the Cricket Operations Manager position.

Greaves, who filed the case on April 28, 2022 pro se (as his own legal representation) is seeking punitive damages of $1.5 million for violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, lost economic benefits valued at $150,000, and non-economic damages worth $350,000 for the “psychological stress and humiliation”. 

The March 28 termination of contract letter from Richard Done explains that Greaves would be paid for “all fees contractually owed to you by USA Cricket through the Contract Termination Date.” The letter also states that Greaves could submit receipts for any expenses owed to him by USA Cricket, and also states that if Greaves cooperates with the transition demands within the letter, he would be paid an additional $3,500 “over and above any amount due to you pursuant to the contract.” 

On April 6, Greaves submitted a letter to Richard Done acknowledging the receipt of the termination letter, and demanding payment of $8,640 for his administering 432 Covid-19 antigen tests, claiming that his requirement to administer these tests are “separate and apart from my contractual obligations under which i was recruited to work for USA Cricket.” Greaves then demanded a termination letter from the board itself, claiming that a letter from Done was not valid for termination.

On April 18, 2022, USA Cricket Chairman Paraag Marathe wrote to Greaves, explaining “the USA Cricket Board confirms this was done in accordance with the decision of the Cricket Committee and with the Board’s agreement.” Marathe also addresses Greaves’ antigen test demand, saying that the testing volume tasked to Greaves “was over and above the expected initial testing volume. We agree to pay $2,124 (at $9 per test x 236; noting that we have confirmation from the previous supplier that his net cost after expenses is $6.50 per test, but we will pay $9 per test based on additional insurance and tax costs you would incur as independent contractor),” and that USA would withhold $889.72 of that amount until Greaves returned some 60 tests still in his possession. 

Player Director Srini Salvar, himself involved in a lawsuit against members of the USA Cricket board, replied to an email sent by Greaves’ stating “Kirk, No, your termination was never recommended by the Cricket committee and was not discussed in the board meeting. Your termination was discussed as part of the budget discussion as it was done for a few other staff members. I am surprised to see the letter you have received! The budget isn’t approved, nor are the terminations.” 

Greaves also filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis, which would allow him to file an action without prepayment of fees, on April 28. The motion was “DENIED with leave to amend” citing incomplete application on May 4, meaning Greaves would be able to resubmit a completed motion by May 27, 2022, or simply pay the filing fee. Greaves resubmitted the motion on May 11. 

The case has been assigned to the Honorable Kandis A. Westmore in the Northern District of California. USA Cricket is currently headquartered in California’s Bay Area. an Initial Case Management Conference is scheduled for August 2 at the Ronald Dellums Federal Building in Oakland, California.

USA are certainly no strangers to lawsuits, surviving both an unsuccessful antitrust complaint filed by American Cricket Premier League, LLC in 2019, and a lawsuit filed by two board members on behalf of USA Cricket against five board members which was dismissed in 2021.

*This article originally incorrectly referred to another party being named as responsible for the rejection of a white Australian for the position of Cricket Operations Manager in the second paragraph. The article has been updated to correctly reflect the court documents relating to the case. (156/5/2022)

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