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Can Sports Teams Pay Cheerleaders, Minor League Players, Clubhouse Managers, and Video Operators Less than Minimum Wage?

No. Sports teams have been in the news recently in a negative way. First, last Fall, the San Francisco Giants reportedly reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) to pay 74 employees (including clubhouse assistants and managers) over $544,000 in unpaid wages. The DOL alleged that some employees were working 12-15 hours per day for only $55 per day, which results in earnings per hour that are less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. See www.sirote.com

In addition, the DOL is reportedly investigating the Oakland Raiders after a cheerleader sued them for failing to pay minimum wages. After factoring in that the cheerleaders had to attend 10 home games, attend rehearsals, a swimsuit photo session, and 10 charity events per year, their hourly wage allegedly came to less than $5.00/hour based on the $1,250 they are paid each season. See www.al.com

More recently, baseball minor league players filed a lawsuit in federal court arguing that most of them earn less than $7,500 for an entire season, in violation of state and federal wage laws. See www.courthousenews.com

If you are either a cheerleader, a minor league player, or clubhouse manager for a Connecticut sports team, you may wish to consult with the Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore if you believe that -after factoring in all the time you work- you are being paid less than the current  Connecticut minimum wage of $8.70 an hour. In fact, you don’t have to be affiliated with a sports team. If after you factor in all the hours you work for a Connecticut employer you believe that your total compensation is below $8.70 an hour, you may wish to consult with us to determine if your employer is violating wage laws.