SBD/May 5, 2017/Labor and Agents

Former ISE Employee Files Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Against Agency

Former ISE Basketball Dir of Operations Joyce Li has filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the agency, alleging she was paid significantly less than her male counterparts despite doing the same work. Li filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in California state court Thursday after receiving right-to-sue letters from the state's Department of Fair Employment & Housing, the complaint states. Li worked for NBA agent Dan Fegan for years prior to being hired in '13 as Dir of Operations of the basketball division of Relativity Sports, the predecessor company of ISE. She was terminated by ISE in December. The lawsuit alleges claims of gender discrimination, race discrimination, unequal pay, retaliation, wrongful termination and failure to prevent discrimination under state and federal labor laws. Li alleges that Fegan treated her fairly, but Relativity Sports and ISE did not. The lawsuit states that, in addition to being involved in the operations of the department, she was involved in providing client service for NBA player clients, including Hawks C Dwight Howard. The suit alleges Li provided client service to Howard, who signed a four-year, $80M contract with the Rockets in '13 on which Relativity Sports received a 3% commission and a five-year, $24M shoe deal in '15 on which the agency received a 15% commission. 

GETTING DIRTY: The lawsuit comes as ISE and Fegan are engaged in an acrimonious legal battle. ISE has asked a judge for a preliminary injunction against Fegan, preventing him from competing against the agency. Fegan is asking a federal court to dismiss ISE's case against him. The agent and agency are also involved in arbitration cases in which ISE is seeking monetary damages. An ISE spokesperson said Li's lawsuit is "without merit and appears to have been orchestrated by Dan Fegan in his never-ending campaign to smear and harm the company." 
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