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Wednesday, February 25, 2015
 
New Law Review Article: Pro Sports Teams and the FLSA


I recently posted a copy of my latest law review article, "Gaming the System: The Exemption of Professional Sports Teams from the Fair Labor Standards Act," to SSRN.  The paper - co-authored with employment law scholar Charlotte Alexander - examines the applicability of the FLSA's exemption for seasonal recreational or amusement employers to U.S. professional sports teams, an issue that is currently being raised in the pending minimum wage lawsuits filed by NFL cheerleaders and minor league baseball players.  We ultimately conclude that sports teams will often be exempt from the FLSA in at least some portions of their operations, before proposing several ways that Congress could amend the law to prevent teams from relying on this exception.
Here's the full abstract for the paper:
This article examines a little known exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) that relieves seasonal recreational or amusement employers from their obligation to pay the minimum wage and overtime. The article evaluates the existing, confused case law surrounding the exemption and proposes a new, simplified framework for applying the provision. It then applies this framework to a recent wave of FLSA lawsuits brought against professional sports teams by cheerleaders, minor league baseball players, and stadium workers who claim they received less than the hourly minimum wage and/or were denied overtime pay. In particular, it determines that, when viewed properly, sports teams will often qualify for the exemption in at least some aspects of their operations. The article concludes by considering the policy implications of exempting this class of employers — some of which are worth up to three billion dollars — from the FLSA’s wage and hour requirements.
You can download the article here.  Any feedback would be much appreciated.





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