Best Ohio Wage and Hour Attorney Answer: Are all workers considered “employees” under the Fair Labor Standards Act and entitled to minimum wage and overtime? What kind of lawyer do I need to sue my employer for overtime violations?
Here at The Spitz Law Firm, LLC, our wage and hour lawyers are committed to representing individuals who have been denied lawfully earned overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA“). As our wage theft lawyers have blogged about before, the FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and half their regular hourly pay rates for hours worked over 40 per week. (See Top Wage and Hour Lawyer Reply: As A Salaried Employee, Am I Exempt From Overtime Pay?; Overtime Trick: What Should I Do If My Boss Says I Work For Two Companies?; My Boss Refuses To Pay Overtime Because I’m Classified As An Independent Contractor. I Need A Lawyer!; and Are All Professionals Exempt From Overtime Pay? I Need A Lawyer!) The FLSA provides that employers who violate the law are liable to the aggrieved employees for their back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, plus reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
But when we think of the word “employee” does a minor league baseball player come to mind? Do any professional or semi-professional athletes come to mind? Probably not, because when we think of “athletes” who are playing professional or semi-professional sports, we automatically say to ourselves, “well they are probably making a lot of money anyways, so certainly they are making at least minimum wage, and they probably make way too much money to deserve overtime compensation.” Right? Well, not according to two recently filed lawsuits:
A few weeks ago, our wage theft lawyers blogged about Senne v. Major League Baseball, which is a wage and hour class lawsuit filed in the United States Northern District Court in California brought by former minor league players against the MLB and its former commissioner, Bud Selig, as well as all 30 MLB teams. (Read that blog: As A Seasonal Employee, Can I Be Paid Less Than Minimum Wage And No Overtime? I Need A Lawyer!). That lawsuit alleges that the defendants failed to pay the plaintiffs minimum wage and overtime compensation in violation of the FLSA as well as several violations of state wage and hour laws that mirror the FLSA. Some of the specific allegations in the suit are that the minor league players worked approximately “50 to 70” hours per week during the season, spring training and instructional leagues. For all of this “work” as alleged by the plaintiffs, they were paid via signing bonuses of a few thousand dollars, and the only additional compensation earned during the season was “$3,000 to $7,500” annually. The wage violation lawsuit also alleges that no overtime compensation was paid, and defendants paid no salary to the plaintiffs for spring training, instructional leagues and other miscellaneous “requirements” of the job such as offseason training including physical strength and conditioning to maintain and get into playing-shape. Certainly, if the plaintiffs’ allegations hold true, earning that amount of money for “50 to 70” hours per week would be well below minimum wage and if the players are “employees” under the FLSA, all protections would apply such as overtime compensation, unless defendants can prove that the plaintiffs are somehow exempt under § 207 of the FLSA and the various state laws.
As a follow up, let’s look at Miranda v. Major League Baseball, also filed in the Northern District Court of California, a different group of former minor league players filed a class suit alleging that MLB imposes a set of employment rules restricting and “monopoz[ing]” minor league player movement between teams, which denies them an opportunity to market their talents and negatively impacts their wages. This complaint, unlike Senne, alleges several anti-trust violations in addition the wage and hour issues. Among the other allegations include saying that the MLB forces minor league players into signing uniform, adhesive contracts which restrict the players’ ability to earn competitive wages.
It will be interesting to see what happens with each of these lawsuits, especially Senne because if minor league baseball players are entitled to overtime compensation, what about other athletes? What about professional MLB players or players in the NFL, NBA or NHL? Either way, it may open the door to other exploratory lawsuits testing the waters for these types of wage and hour violations.
If you have been denied minimum wages or not paid time and a half for your overtime hours, or even think that you might need an employment lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at (216) 291-4744. The Spitz Law Firm and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting employees’ wage rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Ohio wage law.
If you believe that your employer is not paying you all of your wages for all of your lawfully earned overtime compensation at a rate of one and half times your normal wages as requires under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act or Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards laws or you are an nonexempt employee that has been misclassified as exempt or independent contractor, contact the attorneys at The Spitz Law Firm today for a free and confidential initial consultation. The wage and hour lawyers at The Spitz Law Firm will provide you with the best options for your overtime pay dispute situation. If you even think that you may be entitled to overtime pay that you are not being paid, call (216) 291-4744.
The materials available at the top of this overtime, wage and hour web page and at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “Am I entitled to overtime?”, “Does my job have to pay me for …”, “My paycheck is not right…” or “What do I do if…”, the your best option is to contact an Ohio overtime attorney to obtain advice with respect to FLSA questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at the top of this page or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.