Various Major League Baseball (MLB) franchises in the past have avoided paying minimum and overtime wages by relying on the “seasonal amusement” exemption in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), but this time a federal court in California has allowed class certification to begin for a group of former minor league players who filed suit.
The 22 minor league clubs named in the lawsuit were hoping for a quick dismissal, but instead the court decided on July 13 to allow certification to proceed for the former players to take class action. The players claim they were paid below minimum wage and were denied overtime even while working 50 to 70 hours a week, with total compensation for a five-month minor league season ranging from $3,000 to $7,000.
The FLSA grants an exemption from minimum wage and overtime requirements to a “seasonal amusement or recreational establishment” that operates for fewer than seven months a year. The lawsuit, however, also claims that the franchises broke various state wage and overtime laws that do not necessarily offer such an exemption.
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