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MLB investigating Dodgers in alleged discrimination case

Major League Baseball is investigating an allegation by a former Dodgers employee that the team discriminated against him after he sought treatment for the effects of injuries sustained in military service.

The Dodgers deny the allegation; the ongoing MLB investigation could conclude as soon as next week.

Nick Francona, who commanded a Marine platoon in Afghanistan in 2011, joined the Dodgers as assistant director of player development in December 2014. One year later, reportedly concerned about lingering trauma from concussions sustained from explosions, he told the team he wished to consult with a Boston-based organization that helps veterans with “post-traumatic stress and related conditions.”

The Dodgers told league investigators they offered support, including a leave of absence that Francona declined. They later transferred Francona out of player development and into their research and development department, at the same salary, according to Yahoo Sports, which first reported the investigation Wednesday. Francona considered the move a demotion and declined it; the Dodgers subsequently terminated his employment.

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The central question under investigation appears to be whether the job change was evidence of discrimination or whether it was prompted by increasing tension between Francona and his supervisor, Dodgers player development director Gabe Kapler.

According to Yahoo, the Dodgers offered two settlements — the first for $40,000; the second for $150,000 — to Francona. He declined both.

In a statement, the Dodgers said Francona’s exit was “not the result of any type of discrimination, and it certainly was not the result of his being a veteran.” That conclusion was “confirmed” by “independent outside counsel” the team retained to conduct an investigation, the Dodgers said.

Francona has not filed suit against the Dodgers.

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The Dodgers declined to comment beyond the statement. Francona, the son of Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, declined comment to The Times.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin

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