The Mariners on Friday filed a motion in King County Superior Court opposing an attempt by former high performance director Dr. Lorena Martin to quash an arbitration case over her firing. Martin is suing the team for gender and racial discrimination and argues the arbitration case violates her rights.
The Mariners are opposing an attempt by their former high performance director, Dr. Lorena Martin, to quash a pending arbitration case over her firing and salary owed.
In a motion filed Friday in King County Superior Court, the team contends Martin’s claims the arbitration case violates her rights to be heard in open court are invalid. The team argues that a new state law enacted last June — mandating cases involving alleged discrimination be heard in public — does not apply retroactively to her employment contract signed in 2017.
The motion states arbitrator Carolyn Cairns was appointed to the case last month after Martin repeatedly and deliberately missed deadlines for participating in the process. Martin contends she is owed the remaining $600,000 of a three-year, $900,000 deal she signed with the team to much fanfare in November 2017.
She filed a lawsuit against the Mariners last month, claiming gender and racial discrimination by general manager Jerry Dipoto and other team officials. She had been placed on administrative leave in early October and then fired in mid-November, several days after going public with her discrimination allegations on social media.
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The team filed for arbitration in November, claiming several employees had complained about Martin’s conduct dating to early last year. Among the claims was that she had created a hostile work environment for employees and carried out various therapeutic treatments on players without a license and against the orders of team doctors.
Martin last week filed a motion to quash the arbitration case.
She contends in her lawsuit that team owners John Stanton and Buck Ferguson and CEO Kevin Mather did not help her after she’d complained to them last March of mistreatment by Dipoto, player personnel director Andy McKay and manager Scott Servais.
The team states in its motion it hired investigators in August to explore the employee complaints against Martin and the preliminary findings supported the allegations. The motion states the team offered Martin a choice of cooperating with investigators or three months’ severance if she agreed to voluntary termination.
“Dr. Martin refused to speak with the investigative team, or to in any way cooperate with the investigation,’’ the motion states. “Instead, after she learned of the investigation into her conduct, Dr. Martin retained lawyers … and for the first time asserted allegations of gender and race discrimination against the Mariners, including the team executives who had made the decision to hire her one year earlier.’’
Further, the team states her right to a public hearing would not be voided by arbitration because there is no confidentiality aspect attached to it.
“Dr. Martin would be free to share non-confidential information related to the arbitration with the public and the press, including any arbitration award,’’ the motion states. “Given Dr. Martin’s use of her twitter account to make public allegations against the Mariners about her employment claims, it is disingenuous for her to now argue that she is barred from publicly discussing her claims.’’
The motion states the team prefers the arbitration route because it is “faster and more cost-effective’’ than a trial in court.