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Golden State Warriors ticket sales employee sues for discrimination and retaliation

The NBA’s Golden State Warriors are facing some off-court drama in the form of a lawsuit alleging disability discrimination, wage theft and retaliation. A former group ticket sales employee for the championship team filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Nicholas Smith alleged management improperly withheld his commissions during his employment with the Warriors from June 2012 to March 2018. The team also failed to list a five percent Arena Debt Fund Fee on his wage statements after deducting the fee from his pay. Additionally, Smith said his wages were not paid in a timely manner when he was fired in March 2018.

In addition to the wage complaints, Smith alleged the team discriminated against him by failing to accommodate his physical and mental disabilities, including hernia surgeries, slipped discs, pinched nerves, anxiety and depression. The former Warriors employee wrote a letter to the NBA Commissioner’s Office complaining about the team’s failure to pay him all his due wages, disability discrimination and how supervisors ignored his complaints about poor work conditions at the aging Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.

The lawsuit said Smith subsequently received an email from Warriors general counsel saying he was being terminated for “poor performance.” However, Smith believes he was fired in retaliation for his complaints as the team had previously recognized him as one of its top ticket sellers. In addition, the only time he took off was for disability leave from November 2017 to February 2018.

The lawsuit alleged that other ticket sales employees who also complained were told by management, “If you don’t want to work here, the door is right there, guys. People are begging to work with us.” Smith is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages.

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