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Should minor league baseball players get overtime pay?

A lawsuit brought in California seeks overtime pay for over 1,000 minor league baseball players under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The lawsuit claims that these players, who clearly are employees of major league baseball, are working long hours and not receiving overtime wages that other workers do.

Telegram.com of Worcester, Massachusetts, reports:

Minor-league players are paid from $1,100-$2,150 per month, only during the five months of the regular season, during which time players play in 144 games in a span of approximately 150 days. Even at only eight hours per day, a conservative estimate, players with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox earn $9.33 per hour during the regular season, below the Rhode Island minimum wage, and nothing at all during spring training or off season instructional programs.

This law (the FLSA) is usually used to collect overtime wages for employees who work overtime but are not paid overtime wages. Sometimes lawsuits are brought against employers claiming that their use of various exemptions is inappropriate. In recent years, positions such as retail assistant managers, loan or insurance underwriters, nurses, delivery drivers, cable installers and claims representatives have all brought lawsuits under this law.

Whether or not this law applies to baseball players is an interesting question. If nothing else it brings attention to the issue of overtime pay and shows that employees are not required to accept their employer’s classification of them as exempt or non-exempt.