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Former community relations director sues Kansas City Chiefs for age bias


KANSAS CITY, Mo.—A former community relations director for the Kansas City Chiefs has accused the team of firing her based on her age, according to a lawsuit filed last week.

Brenda Sniezek claims in a lawsuit filed Dec. 2 that she was let go in January after nearly 30 years with the National Football League team, primarily because she was over 40 years old and had worked under the team's previous general manager. Ms. Sniezek, who was 51 when she was fired, alleges that the team's current GM, Scott Pioli, and its owner, Clark Hunt, unfairly targeted her and several other older employees in an effort to overhaul the team's corporate culture.

“In the year before Ms. Sniezek's termination, several comments by Chiefs' management evidenced a pattern of age discrimination,” she claims in her suit, filed in a Jackson County Circuit Court in Kansas City. “On (one) occasion, Pioli was overheard saying ‘We're going to get rid of everyone who was with (former GM) Carl Peterson, especially anyone over the age of 40.'”

After her termination, Ms. Sniezek petitioned the Missouri Commission on Human Rights and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for the right to sue the team. That permission was granted Sept. 13.

Reached for comment, Chiefs President Mark Donovan called Ms. Sniezek’s allegations “baseless and ridiculous.”

Ms. Sniezek’s “claims are completely false and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves,” Mr. Donovan said.

Ms. Sniezek has demanded a jury trial and is seeking compensation for lost wages and punitive damages.