Minor-league ball players get go-ahead to sue for minimum wage

Class action suit allowed to continue in U.S.; players frequently receive less than minimum wage and no pay during spring training
By Joel Rosenblatt
|employmentlawtoday.com|Last Updated: 09/16/2019
Baseball Game
Some baseball players make less than US$7,500 per year. Cheryl Casey/Shutterstock

SAN FRANCISCO (Bloomberg News) — Minor-league baseball players in the U.S. — who sometimes make less than US$7,500 a year — can sue Major League Baseball in their quest for minimum wage and overtime pay.

Minor-league wages are regularly less than the minimum rates required by law, and in spring training players often work seven days a week without pay, their lawyers said in a news release.

“It is often said that baseball is America’s pastime,” U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Paez wrote. “In this case, current and former minor league baseball players allege that the American tradition of baseball collides with a tradition far less benign: the exploitation of worker.”

In a 2-1 decision, the federal appeals court in San Francisco on Friday allowed the lawsuit to advance as a class action on behalf of thousands of current and former players for work done in California, Arizona and Florida.

“We look forward to proceeding to trial and proving that defendants’ pay practices for minor leaguers are illegal and woefully inadequate.” Bobby Pouya, one of the lawyers representing the players, said in a statement.

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