As children, many dream of becoming professional baseball players. When such a dream becomes a reality, the job may not be as glamorous as it seems. A lawsuit filed in a California federal court against Major League Baseball was recently granted conditional class action certification. The lawsuit stems from a number of wage disputes involving MLB and current and former minor league players.
This case was originally filed by three players, but 40 more have since joined the lawsuit. Most minor league players make no more than $7,500 each year. Their work weeks are allegedly in excess of 50 hours and can include as many as 70 during the five-month championship season — all without overtime compensation. When the players attend spring training and other events, the players are apparently not paid at all.
The lawyer for the plaintiffs commented that conditional class action certification is the first step toward seeing that all of the players receive appropriate pay. Many of the people who are in the minor leagues sign soon after their high school graduations. Often they are allegedly not even being given minimum wage, and they are sometimes asked to work for free. The affected players will soon be alerted and can choose to join the lawsuit.
The next step toward class action status is a hearing with the attorneys and representatives of MLB. The league can make its case to try to prevent the case from achieving class action status. In the series of wage disputes leading to the class action, 30 clubs were named as not having paid their players correctly. This class action involves 22 of those clubs, as those that were not strongly connected to California were dismissed by the judge.
Source: sfexaminer.com, “SF judge gives preliminary approval to class action lawsuit by Minor League players“, Oct. 21, 2015