Miami Marlins fans are eagerly looking forward to the official start of spring training, followed by opening day. We’re hoping to see the Marlins rebound from a disappointing season last year.
But while we watch, wait and hope for better things, an important legal claim against the Marlins, minor league baseball and MLB (Major League Baseball) is taking place. So far it has largely flown under the national media’s radar, but that might change if minor league baseball players prevail in their quest to be paid at least minimum wage and receive overtime pay.
The minor leagues are asking Congress to intervene and carve out exemptions from the Fair Labor and Standards Act for them. In that way, minor league teams could continue the practice of paying minor leaguers below minimum wage and not giving them overtime pay. Their appeal to lawmakers is in response to a “surprising and unprecedented” lawsuit in which former minor leaguers claim they were paid below the minimums required by law.
A year ago, the players filed suit against the Marlins, Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants alleging that minor leagues and teams pay “players as little as $3,000 for five months of work,” Bloomberg reports.
If the players prevail, it would have a dire financial impact on the minor leagues and teams, the leagues and teams contend. Ticket prices would skyrocket as teams would be forced to pay players for the many hours of pre- and post-game practices, instruction, games, promotional activities and more. Plus, they contend that teams would have to pay overtime wages for hours above 40 per week, which would also force ticket prices to rise (and perhaps minor league attendance to fall).
It’s typical for wage and hour disputes to involve a number of complex legal issues that require the knowledge and guidance of an experienced employment law attorney. An experienced lawyer can carry out negotiations with your employer while also preparing to take your case to court.