Major League Baseball is not batting a good game. Players in minor league affiliate teams filed a suit for wage and hour allegations. The lawsuit contends that these players were paid less than minimum wage, not paid for overtime, and not paid for all work duties.
Strike One-While salary information for minor league players is not readily available, the suit contends that players typically were compensated approximately $1,100 to $2,150 per month. While their major league counterparts are making millions, minor league players were expected to “pay their dues” getting to the next echelon of play.
The MLB defends their actions by saying the minor league players fall into a seasonal employee exemption, which excludes such employees from minimum wage or overtime. Seasonal exemptions apply to occupations that provide seasonal “amusement or recreational” services. These services operate for less than 7 months in a year.
Strike Two– Minor league players are paid on a salary and not on an hourly basis, which means, no matter how long that game lasts or how many hours are spent in practice, none of it is compensated at a rate of one and a half times or two times the regular rate.
During the season, players were required to attend team work outs, batting practice/drills, and work for 6 or 7 days straight for over 8 hours in a day.
Strike Three– When not in season, minor leaguers see no pay, but are expected to attend practices anyway. Spring training and post-season instructional leagues are mandatory but not compensated.
Minor league players sign over an exclusive right to the MLB for 7 years’ worth of management. The player cannot sever this contract nor leave to play for another team, even if it is outside of the league or outside of the States.
The MLB has attempted to get this suit dismissed, but failed to do so. Most recently, earlier this month, a judge ruled that objections from the MLB over the standing of Class Members is stayed until class certification is reached.
Source: Topclassactions.com; Fordhamsportslawforum.com; Department of Labor