Ballplayers file wage-related suit in California court

Frank S. Clowney III

To a Padres fan watching a game at San Diego’s Petco Park, the life of a ballplayer can appear conjured from the imagination of a 13-year-old little leaguer. Playing a game they love in front of admiring spectators, major league baseball players often receive astounding financial compensation for their talents.

But San Diego baseball fans may be surprised to learn that the same cannot be said for players honing their skills in the minor leagues. In fact, three former minor leaguers are now filing suit in San Francisco federal court against Major League Baseball for violating state federal laws regarding fair wages.

The players filing suit maintain that, based on hours worked versus dollars paid, the compensation they received while playing was below minimum wage. For an entire season, minor league players assert they are frequently paid under $7,500, which generally spans a five-month period. The players are seeking legal satisfaction to a number of issues including provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The FLSA laws exist to protect workers from exploitive employment situations. The plight of the underpaid ballplayer is no different from the plight of the underpaid day worker. When you work for someone, you are helping them generate a profit and thus should be assured a reasonable share.

Wherever you work, be it a ballpark, a construction site or an office building, you are entitled to receive the federally and state mandated minimum wage rates for regular and overtime hours. All employers should know that paying below these standards is in violation of the law.

If you believe you have been paid less than what you are legally entitled to for services rendered, then meeting with advocates versed in wage and hour law could start you on the path to recovering your due.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Minor Leaguers Sue Baseball for Low Pay, in Federal Class Action,” Cheryl Armstrong, Feb. 11, 2013