Longtime MLB player Omar Vizquel is being sued for sexual harassment by a former batboy for the Birmingham Barons, the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, and the team Vizquel managed in 2019, according to The Athletic's Katie Strang and James Fegan. The complaint alleges Vizquel exposed himself to the batboy, among other inappropriate behavior.
The White Sox were made aware of the alleged incident in Aug. 2019 and Vizquel was suspended with pay while the team investigated. He was fired after the season. The lawsuit alleges the team was aware of similar incidents involving Vizquel in previous years.
"After first learning of an alleged incident in late August 2019, the Chicago White Sox conducted an internal investigation that resulted in the termination of the organization's relationship with Omar Vizquel," the team said in a statement. "Because this is active litigation, at this time the White Sox will not comment further regarding the allegations included in this lawsuit."
The batboy, who has autism, filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. An investigation determined earlier this year that the bat boy had been "subjected to sexual harassment and disability discrimination and that he was constructively discharged," according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Alabama, also names the White Sox and the Barons as defendants. According to the complaint, the worker said that his supervisors and Vizquel's former coaches "laughed at the sexual harassment, further compounding the trauma and humiliation" he experienced. The lawsuit, which alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, states that he was "constructively discharged" from employment following the harassment.
According to the complaint, the former batboy, who is 25 years old, "has substantial impairments in processing information, handling stressful situations, successfully maintaining interpersonal relations, and in activities such as driving and working."
Vizquel has not been employed with an MLB organization since he was fired by the White Sox in 2019. In 2020, MLB investigated abuse allegations against Vizquel made by his ex-wife. The investigation also covered the incident alleged by the batboy while with the Barons in 2019.
Vizquel, an 11-time Gold Glove winner, who will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the fifth time this year, was arrested in 2016 and charged with fourth-degree assault against his ex-wife.