NEW YORK — Major League Baseball (MLB) received support from Minor League Baseball recently in the class action overtime pay lawsuit brought by former Minor League players. The minor league players filed their lawsuit claiming MLB violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) when it failed to pay its minor league players minimum wage and overtime pay. MLB denies the allegations and the Minor League is not only supporting MLB, it is also focusing its effort on making professional baseball players exempt from FLSA overtime laws.
The Players’ Claims
Earlier this year, three former minor league baseball players filed a class action wage and overtime pay lawsuit against MLB. That lawsuit now has 32 former players and represents players from each of the MLB’s 30 teams. Each MLB team has an associated minor league team from which they draft players and utilize to recondition injured major league players. The minor league players sign a seven-year contract. Under the terms of the contract, the players claim they earn between $3,000 and $7,500 each season. This calculation is based on a five-month season, since players are not paid during spring training or league instructional assignments. In essence, even though the players may work 70 hours a week, they allegedly only earn between $600 and $1,500 a month.
Months after MLB denied the claims and 10 of the teams sought to dismiss the claims entirely, the executive director of Minor League Baseball reported that the league will be requesting a Congressional exemption under the FLSA for minor league baseball players. While the courts, or possibly a settlement, will likely determine the outcome of this lawsuit, Congress has the ability to create FLSA exemptions and determine if future minor league claims may be brought for unpaid overtime or for failure to pay minimum wage.
The FLSA requires employers pay employees at least minimum wage and, if they work more than 40 hours a week, overtime pay at time and a half their regular pay. There are, however, certain employees who are exempt from the FLSA’s overtime requirements. Some exemptions are generic and may be applied to a wide range of employees such as the administrative and executive exemptions. These exemptions are for managers, administrative assistants, and those with the authority and responsibilities associated with ongoing maintenance of a departments or businesses.
There are also specific occupations which are exempt from overtime pay. For instance, individuals performing outside sales, farmworkers on small farms, and certain mechanics are all exempt from overtime laws. Generally the reasoning behind these exemptions is either based on the likelihood the employee will receive other forms of compensation to offset the loss of overtime or the typical wages are higher than most.
To learn if you are properly classified as exempt from overtime pay or if your employer is not required to pay at least minimum wage, call us today. Our knowledgeable team of overtime pay lawyers can evaluate your situation and discuss your options today at (855) 754-2795. You can also complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form and our experienced legal team will assess your case. If we accept your case, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise. This means there are no legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement.