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Baseball coach sues school district


‘Hostile work environment’ in Compton

A 69-year-old former Centennial High School baseball coach is suing the Compton Unified School District, alleging he was wrongfully fired in 2022 because of his age and due to his repeated requests to have a key to the baseball field restroom to accommodate him for his use of a colostomy bag after he earlier dealt with colon cancer.

Gerald Pickens' Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit allegations include discrimination, hostile work environment, harassment, failure to accommodate and to engage in the interactive process. Pickens seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Pickens was hired as Centennial High's baseball coach in February 1993 and was a revered face of the school for decades, having won many awards and honors, and he wanted to continue in his job for many years to come, the suit states.

However, Pickens became ill in 2014 and was diagnosed with colon cancer, according to the suit, which further states that although the plaintiff was “devastated,'' he underwent surgery and chemotherapy treatments and continued to work as Centennial's baseball coach.

Pickens' treatment was successful and his cancer went into remission for a while, but returned in 2017 in four organs, the suit states. He had life-saving surgery, but had to wear both colostomy and urostomy bags and needed help at times from assistant coaches, the suit states.

Pickens also wanted access to a restroom near the baseball field, which is typically locked when practice occurs after school.