SAN FRANCISCO — Minor league baseball players filed a class action wage and overtime pay lawsuit in California federal court against Major League Baseball (MLB). The MLB, its 30 teams, and its commissioner are accused of violating state labor laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The violations include wages well below state and federal minimum levels and failure to pay overtime. The minor league players’ claims are similar to the recently filed wage and overtime claims of NFL cheerleaders.
The Players’ Situation
Three former minor league players filed the initial lawsuit against their former teams, the San Francisco Giants, Kansas City Royals, and Miami Marlins. Since the initial filing, players from the remaining 27 teams joined the lawsuit, adding each of team to the suit. Major league teams draft players to play for a team’s minor league club. For example, one of the San Francisco Giants’ minor league teams is the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Minor league players sign seven-year contracts with their respective teams.
While major league players make hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars, minor league players claim they receive between $3,000 and $7,500 per season. Each season lasts five months, which translates to about $600 to $1,500 per month for minor league players.
According to the lawsuit, minor league players sometimes work as many as 70 hours a week, not including days spent traveling to games in other cities. Players are also expected to train during the off-season and during spring training, and to pay monthly clubhouse dues and tip the clubhouse attendants.
The MLB Response
The Commissioner and MLB deny the players’ claims, and 11 MLB teams moved to dismiss the lawsuit. MLB argues baseball is more of a pastime than a job, and is therefore exempt from minimum wage laws. They also argue that, since minor league players only work five months out of the year, they qualify as seasonal employees. The court is yet to rule on whether the class action can go forward.
Wage and overtime laws can be complex and detail specific. If you believe you are owed unpaid overtime wages, contact our team of overtime pay lawyers today at (855) 754-2795, or complete a Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form. If we accept your case, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise. You will not be billed for legal fees or other costs unless you receive a settlement.