SAN FRANCISCO — Earlier in October, a California federal court indicated that it will likely conditionally certify a collective action of minor league baseball players who claim that Major League Baseball (MLB) violated their wage rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The suit includes forty-three minor league players as named plaintiffs, but would include all minor league baseball players employed by MLB or any MLB franchise under the Minor League Uniform Player Contract who worked or works as minor league players at any time since Feb. 7, 2011, but who had no service team in the major league.
The federal court indicated that there are likely enough common issues in the proposed class for it to move forward collectively. The court stated that the standard for conditional certification is extremely low, and that plaintiffs have argued that they are similarly situated on a number of issues, including that they were not paid for work in the offseason and did not earn overtime or minimum wages during the championship season. The MLB contended in return that the minor league plaintiffs do not have enough to show that MLB treats them all in the same way and that there was no facially lawful policy that ties everyone into the same group. Additionally, the MLB argued that the whether the plaintiffs did not receive overtime pay must be determined on an individual basis, specifically because each club is responsible for paying its own players and have different payroll systems. However, the court stated that none of the plaintiffs have indicated that they were paid enough to constitute minimum wage.
Wage Theft Allegations
The lawsuit against MLB alleges that minor league players have been systematically denied minimum wage and overtime, in violation of FLSA. Specifically, the plaintiffs claim that MLB paid them a total of only $3,000 to $7,000 over the course of a five-month season despite workweeks of fifty to seventy hours. However, the MLB will likely respond that the players are exempt from FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements because they are employed by a “seasonal amusement or recreational establishment.” Employees of establishments that operate for up to seven months per calendar year, or whose average receipts for any six months of the calendar year are not more than one-third its average receipts for the other six months of the year, are exempt from the FLSA.
Employees may band together to bring class action claims to enforce employers’ minimum wage and overtime obligations under FLSA. You should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you believe your wage rights have been violated and would like to bring suit on behalf of affected employees. Our top-rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. There are strict time limitations for filing, so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.