A federal judge has decertified the collective of former minor league players suing Major League Baseball (MLB) over minimum wage claims, and he has also denied their certification as a class action. Lawyers representing the former minor leaguers vowed to appeal.
U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero of the Northern District of California made the ruling July 21. Eight months earlier, he had provisionally allowed the collective, but this past week reversed course, finding that the plaintiffs were not “similarly situated” because of the geographic expanse of minor league camps in the U.S., among other technical requirements he found not to have been met.
(In a collective action, plaintiffs must “opt in,” while in a class action, plaintiffs must “opt out.”)
The lawsuit claimed the minor leaguers were paid below minimum wage standards because they earned as little as $3,000 to $7,000 for five months of work. MLB has long asserted the “seasonal entertainment” exclusion from minimum wage that is found in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).