Former employee sues Royals, alleging racial discrimination and hostile work environment

FILE - In this Wednesday, June 16, 2010, file photograph, a rainbow arches near Kauffman...
FILE - In this Wednesday, June 16, 2010, file photograph, a rainbow arches near Kauffman Stadium as the grounds crews prepare the field after a rain delay before a baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and the Houston Astros, in Kansas City, Mo.(AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 1:51 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) – The Kansas City Royals are facing a lawsuit that claims they fired a former Urban Youth Academy employee because he is Black.

Cleitus Ross is suing the Kansas City Royals Baseball Team, LLC. in federal court. The lawsuit lists count one as “Title VII - Discrimination based on race” and count two as “Title VII – Racially hostile work environment and discrimination based on race.”

According to, “The Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy is a nonprofit organization with the mission to empower Kansas’s City’s youth through baseball, softball, academic and social opportunities to be the leaders of tomorrow.”

In early April of 2018, according to the lawsuit, Ross took a position with the KCUYA and became the coordinator of baseball programs.

Ross said he opposed a plan from the team to use the academy to attract children of all backgrounds, instead focusing on underserved children.

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that restructuring at the behest of the VP of Community Impact aligned with a “plan to transition KCUYA away from its mission of providing underserved youth with the opportunities that the KCUYA provided.”

“The term ‘underserved’ as used by the KCUYA, specifically referred to minority youths,” the lawsuit states. However, it also says that the term was removed from the KCUYA’s mission statement about a week after Ross was placed on paid suspension. In July of 2021, Ross was terminated.

The lawsuit also alleges that “[s]enior management of the Royals knew, or should have known, of the race discrimination against Ross described herein, but failed to take appropriate remedial action.”

Additionally, the lawsuit says Ross “has been contacted by individuals and told that key Royals’ employees have stated that Ross was terminated because of reasons other than those the Royals indicated for Ross’ termination.”

So far, no court date has been assigned.

The lawsuit closes by stating that Ross is demanding “a jury trial on all issues so triable in this action.”