Best Wage Attorney Reply: Can I be forced to volunteer my time to stay in a homeless shelter? Can unpaid work be classified as “work therapy”? Can the NFL not pay minimum wage?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL are becoming experts in the “making terrible mistakes” business. No, we are not talking about paying a 35 year old journeymen quarterback $10 million dollars—actually, quite the opposite. The Bucs actually have a big issue with not paying employees. A recent investigation conducted by the Tampa Bay Times revealed that the Bucs have been employing homeless, destitute and/or drug addicts to sell concessions at Bucs games. Instead of funneling some of the bad Josh McCown contract money to these disadvantaged workers, the Bucs simply paid them nothing. Zilch. Nada. Clearly, this is less than minimum wage. Talk about wage theft!
So, when you go and pay $8 for a hotdog and $12 for a beer, the worker serving it to you might not be getting paid at all. It might also explain why these lines take so long.
The workers are provided to the Bucs by a ministry called New Beginnings. New Beginnings provides the destitute workers food and shelter, and in return the workers provide services for the Bucs, Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Lightning and Daytona 500. In what can safely be described as “indentured servitude,” New Beginnings receives all of the money the workers earn selling the concessions, and gives exactly zero dollars to the workers.
There are many other sordid details with New Beginnings not directly tied to the “indentured servitude” of the destitute workers. Not only did New Beginnings, not properly pay the employees, but New Beginnings went so far as to confiscate the workers social security checks and food stamps.
In return, New Beginnings claims that they provide the workers “counseling,” which has been described solely as drug testing them. New Beginnings employs exactly zero counselors who have experience treating drug addicts or those with mental illness. Further, the CEO of New Beginning describes one of his qualifications that “he ran a motorcycle gang.” Even the Sons of Anarchy would have an issue with the systematic use of the disadvantaged as indentured servants.
In the defense of the use of these indentured servants, the New Beginnings CEO said that he provides “work therapy.” This defense is more than laughable as the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and common sense state that you have to pay employees for their work, and paying them food, shelter and fake “work therapy” is not sufficient. As to why New Beginnings would take advantage of all of these disadvantaged people, the answer is actually quite simple. New Beginning brought in $932,816 last year in income from the use of these indentured servants.
If you are being taken advantage of and forced to work without pay, you should contact an employment attorney immediately who can fight for you.
If you believe that your employer is not paying you all of your wages, paying you less than minimum wage, unlawfully deducting money from your paycheck, not paying you time and a half for overtime, or is otherwise cheating you out of wages requires contact the minimum wage violation lawyers and overtime claim attorneys at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm today for a free and confidential initial consultation. You may have a claim under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act or Ohio Fair Labor Standards Act. The wage and hour lawyers at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm will provide you with the best options for your wage and hour pay dispute situation. If you even think that you may be entitled to overtime pay that you are not being paid, call 866-797-6040.
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