Former England captain Karen Smithies sues CSA for alleged discrimination

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She contends she was allegedly passed over for the job of South Africa women’s team manager because of her sexuality and nationality

Former England World Cup-winning captain and current Titans team manager Karen Smithies is suing Cricket South Africa (CSA) for discrimination after she was ruled out of contention for a job allegedly because of her sexuality and nationality. Smithies was interviewed for the position of the national women’s team manager but contends she was allegedly passed over because she is gay and from the United Kingdom.

The national women’s team support staff was confirmed in July last year, when coach Hilton Moreeng was reappointed and the team manager’s position was filled by the incumbent Sedibu Mohlaba.

ESPNcricinfo understands that when Smithies, who captained England when they defeated New Zealand in the 1993 World Cup final at Lord’s, learnt the reason she was not considered for the position was because there were concerns around a gay woman managing the women’s team, she approached CSA with her grievance. At the time, CSA had the opportunity to settle the case but opted not to do so, leaving Smithies with no option but to head to the courts. She has submitted her case to the labour court and CSA is due to file their reply by April 1.

According to Section 6(1) of the South Africa’s Employment Equity Act, “no person may unfairly discriminate, directly or indirectly, against any employee in any employment policy or practice. Such discrimination includes race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic, or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language, birth or on any other arbitrary ground.”

Smithies has worked in administration in South African cricket for the last two decades and has managed the Northerns provincial and the Titans franchise team. She was also involved in television commentary for the South Africa Women’s home series against Pakistan earlier this year.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent



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