Ex-Ace Hamby files discrimination complaint against team, WNBA

Dearica Hamby filed a gender discrimination complaint last week against the WNBA and the Las Vegas Aces, saying her former team and its coach, Becky Hammon, retaliated against her after she informed them she was pregnant.

Hamby filed the complaint with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday.

The complaint said that the franchise created an “abusive and hostile” work environment for Hamby last year before trading her to the Los Angeles Sparks in the offseason. That came after Hamby told the team she was pregnant with her second child.

Los Angeles Sparks forward Dearica Hamby dribbles down the court during the first half of a WNBA basketball against the Minnesota Lynx, game Sunday, June 11, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr, File)

Hamby also alleged that Hammon asked the player if she had planned her pregnancy, adding that the coach told her she was “not holding up (her) end of the bargain” after signing a two-year extension last year.

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Hamby also said that the WNBA failed to properly investigate her allegations. The league had a months-long probe that concluded right before the season started and suspended Hammon two games for violating league and team “respect in the workplace” policies.

“The league conducted a thorough investigation of the allegations and levied appropriate discipline based on its findings,” a WNBA spokesperson said.

The Washington Post was the first to report the complaint.

The complaint will be investigated and the EEOC may attempt to resolve the matter through mediation. If mediation fails or if the EEOC does not find reasonable cause that discrimination or retaliation occurred, it will issue a “right to sue” letter, giving Hamby 90 days to file a lawsuit in federal or state court.

The Aces are getting ready to face New York in the WNBA Finals, which begin Sunday. The team declined comment on the new complaint.

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In May, Hammon refuted Hamby’s claims and said the Aces traded the two-time WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year because it was best for the team.

″(Hamby’s pregnancy) wasn’t a problem, and it never was why we made the decision,” Hammon said at the time. “We made the decision to move Hamby because we could get three bodies in her one contract, and we wanted to get three more people in. I think it’s very evident (with) who we signed on why we made the move.

Hamby had a productive season with the Sparks playing two months after giving birth to her son. She played in all 40 games and averaging 8.9 points and 5.9 rebounds.

“In the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement, player parents gained protections that ensured becoming a parent did not mean the end of a career,” the WNBA Players’ Union said in a statement. “Obviously, these protections did not change the nature of this business. Any team can trade any player for any reason or no reason at all. But that reason cannot be on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, parental status, or pregnancy status.”

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