Minor League Baseball Players File Wage Payment Class Action Lawsuit
Minor league baseball players have gathered to file a class action lawsuit against their league leaders because they are the “working poor” of the sports world, claiming that they make less than minimum wage.
The wage payment and labor violations lawsuit claims that minor league baseball players practice and play for hours and hours – baseball is notorious for having no set time limit on the game – and do not receive overtime pay, are “requested” to perform unpaid additional job activities, and they have no right to switch teams or negotiate a better contract. Maximum starting salary for minor league baseball players is $5,500 annually (about $1,100 per month) – with their working hours, that averages well below minimum wage, and could constitute wage and labor violations according to federal law. In contrast, the average starting salary for major league baseball players is $84,000 per month.
“No one is saying that minor leaguers should be getting rich,” says Garrett Broshuis, a minor league baseball player turned attorney who helped build the case. “But if McDonald’s and Wal-Mart can pay a minimum wage, then Major League Baseball can too.”
The Minor League defendants have not officially responded to the class action lawsuit, which was filed in May of this year, but seem prepared to argue that baseball isn’t a job, but a past-time, with seasonal pay – and many seasonal jobs, such as retail work and stock jobs during the Christmas season, pay notoriously low wages, no health benefits, no workers comp.
However, even seasonal retail workers make minimum wage, and to pay them otherwise simply because they remain employed for only a handful of months per year is a wage and labor violation per the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“Some of the ‘work,’ like personal fitness, is arguably a mixture of employment and personal advancement,” says Bill Gould, emeritus professor of law at Standford University; working for advancement isn’t part of the FLSA.
The Minor League wage payment and labor violations argument goes all the way back to 1995, when a Florida court upheld the League’s argument for seasonal exemption – specifically in the case of a grounds keeper who sued the league for overtime pay. Three years later, however, a court in Ohio ruled in the opposite direction regarding the Cincinnati Reds. So currently, there is no federal standard regarding wage and labor violations for minor leaguers.
“Money is probably the No. 1 topic of conversation you have with your teammates,” Aaron Senne, a plaintiff who played for several years for minor-league affiliates of the Miami Marlins before retiring in 2013, told WSJ. “How are you pay off your credit card? What job are you going to get in the off season?”
Filing A South Carolina Wage Payment Lawsuit Against An Employer For Labor Violations Can Be Tricky
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