S.F. Giants Strike Out on Steady Stream of FLSA Fastballs

The Department of Labor (DOL) came out with a blazing arsenal of labor law fastballs against the San Francisco Giants baseball franchise and came away with a winner's share of more than half a million bucks for aggrieved clubhouse employees.

After a DOL investigation, the San Francisco Giants baseball team agreed to pay $544,715 in back wages and liquidated damages to 74 employees. The investigation determined that the Major League Baseball (MLB) club had failed to properly pay the workers over a three-year period. As a result of the investigation, MLB and the department are now working to ensure that all teams are aware of and adhere to the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found violations of the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime pay and record-keeping provisions. The violations affected a range of employees in the organization at the major and minor league levels, including clubhouse assistants and managers. San Francisco Baseball Associates LLC, the club’s ownership group, has entered into an agreement with the department to ensure continued and future compliance with the FLSA.

Susana Blanco, director of the San Francisco District Office of the Wage and Hour Division, said the case underscores the importance of wage protections: “I am encouraged that the Giants acted to resolve this issue, but it was disappointing to learn that clubhouse workers providing services to high-paid sports stars weren’t making enough to meet the basic requirements of minimum-wage law.”

During the investigation, the department determined that clubhouse employees were working more hours than were recorded, under an employment agreement required by the club that established a flat rate of pay of $55 for working 5.5 hours per day. However, investigators found that the employees actually worked an average of 12 to 15 hours daily, and the workers thus received less than the hourly federal minimum wage of $7.25 and were also not paid overtime for hours exceeding 40 in a workweek.

NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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