Zamboni Driver Fired Over Urination Sues Red Wings | Athletic Business

Zamboni Driver Fired Over Urination Sues Red Wings

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The Detroit Red Wings' Zamboni driver is suing the organization after he was fired for urinating in a drain at Little Caesar's Arena. 

Al Sobatka, 68, claims he was discriminated against because of his age and disability, which would be a violation of the state's Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act. 

After cleaning the rinks on Feb. 2, Sobotka — who claims to have been diagnosed with benign prostatic hypertrophy, which causes frequent urination — returned the Zamboni to the garage at Little Caesars and felt the urgent need to urinate. Because the nearest facility was 60-70 feet away Sobotka urinated into one of the drains that collects the Zamboni's ice runoff. 

According to CBS, Sobotka was urinating in the garage, which only all-male ice crew have access to, when another employee spotted him. Two days later, Sobotka met with a human resources representative and was suspended for a week. He was later fired on Feb. 17. 

Sobotka ran the Red Wings' Zamboni for over 30 years and was famous for swirling dead octopi around during the team's playoff games. His octopi handling led the Red Wings to name their mascot 'Al the Octopus' in his honor. 

"I was shocked," Sobotka told WDIV-TV, referring to his dismissal. "I didn't know what to say. Heartbroken, yes."

Sobotka is seeking compensatory damages in the lawsuit. 



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