Famed San Francisco 49ers Announcer Sues for Age Discrimination


San Francisco, CA: He had been performing his job faithfully for 30 years, in so doing becoming a football institution in San Francisco. Bob Sarlatte, the stadium announcer for the San Francisco 49ers, on the job since 1984, and for a generation of football fans his was the only voice fans heard inside the stadium when they attended a 49ers game. Today, Sarlatte is suing for California age discrimination.

Everything changed for Sarlatte in 2014, when the team was planning a move to a new facility and allegedly decided that Sarlatte would not be making the move with the team and the remainder of the organization.

The reason?

According to the Daily Post of Palo Alto (5/19/16), Sarlatte alleges he was told by the team that the 49ers were moving in a “different direction” with the location transfer to the new stadium, and when pressed, the manager is alleged to have told Sarlatte that the position of field announcer was being eliminated.

Sarlatte’s California discrimination lawsuit alleges that upon moving to the new facility, the San Francisco 49ers immediately hired a younger announcer for the position of in-stadium (or field) announcer, which hadn’t been eliminated after all.

The plaintiff’s California labor lawsuit alleges that Sarlatte is the victim of age discrimination. The actor, comedian and public speaker had been performing in the capacity of field announcer with the football team for 30 years, from 1984 until 2014, when his employment was terminated at the age of 66.

Just prior to his termination, Sarlatte appeared as a guest on Late Night with David Letterman, where the host talked about Sarlatte’s 30-year run with the team. Sarlatte had been a frequent guest on the Letterman show as a performer in his own right.

While planning the move to its new facility in Santa Clara, the team, according to Sarlatte’s California discrimination lawsuit, “engaged in a pattern and practice of eliminating its older workers, while attempting to rebrand the team as a younger, technology-driven organization.

“In order to make room for the younger technology workers, [49ers CEO Jed York] engaged in a campaign to terminate the older, senior employees within the 49ers organization,” the lawsuit alleges.

It should be noted that two other long-standing employees of the team were also let go prior to the move to the new facility. In January 2015, the two plaintiffs filed California age discrimination lawsuits in federal court in San Francisco. Those two lawsuits ended in a settlement this past October.

The Sarlatte lawsuit claims violations of the US Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, and California public policy. Sarlatte is seeking back wages, an additional punitive financial award, and reinstatement to the job of field announcer with the San Francisco 49ers.

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