Spanish-Speaking Announcer Sues Over Discrimination in New York

Luis Grandison, a Black Spanish-language horse-racing announcer who worked for the New York Racing Association was paid half the salary his English-speaking white counterparts received before he was fired in June, a new lawsuit charges. Grandison worked as an announcer at Belmont Park and two other New York state racetracks for six years, and sued the New York Racing Association claiming he was discriminated against. Grandison earned $60,000 a year, while his English-speaking white counterparts were paid more than double that amount for doing less work, the federal lawsuit alleges.

According to the Times Union in Albany, New York, Tom Durkin, a white English-language announcer, was paid $440,000 before retiring in 2014, and Larry Collmus, also a white English-language announcer, was paid over $200,000 before leaving the job earlier this year, according to the lawsuit.

John Imbriale, Collmus’ replacement, also earns over $200,000 to call thoroughbred races, according to the lawsuit.

One of Grandison’s attorneys noted that the horse racing heavily relies on a Latino workforce. “Latinos are a significant part of the racing industry, both as track workers and as racing fans,” Gianfranco Cuadra told the Times Union Wednesday. “This race discrimination lawsuit is important for the Latino community.”

Grandison was born and raised in Panama, and he was a horse race caller there before moving to the United States in 2009. He became a NYRA announcer in 2014, earning around $32,000 a year, the court papers state.

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