Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants have paid 74 employees $544,715 in back wages and damages after the Department of Labor investigated the team’s practices regarding pay for clubhouse and administrative workers. The investigation from the Wage and Hour Division found that the team violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime, and record-keeping laws.
The Department of Labor found that major and minor league clubhouse workers in the Giants organization worked longer hours than were recorded and made less than minimum wage. The employment agreement for clubhouse workers stipulated that they would make $55 for working 5.5 hours a day, but they were actually working 12 to 15 hours, according to the investigation. They also were not paid overtime. The club also improperly classified some employees in a way that allowed them to avoid paying overtime. And they failed to pay overtime, or paid too little overtime to some administrative staffer.
“I am encouraged that the Giants acted to resolve this issue, but it was disappointing to learn that clubhouse workers providing services to high-paid sports stars weren’t making enough to meet the basic requirements of minimum-wage law,” Susana Blanco, the director of the San Francisco District Office of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, said in a release. The Giants entered into an agreement with the Department of Labor to ensure future compliance with the law, and Labor will also work with Major League Baseball to ensure that all other teams are complying with the laws as well.
The settlement with the Giants comes at a prominent time for wage theft claims, which have increased 400 percent since 2000. More than two-thirds of low-income workers have experienced wage theft violations according to a 2009 report, and 84 percent of New York fast food workers reported that they have been victims of wage theft in the last year alone. Fast food workers in more than 50 American cities walked off the job Thursday to protest for higher wages, and President Obama wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour from its current $7.25.
Earlier this year, concession workers at San Francisco’s AT&T Park voted to authorize a strike against the company that operates the Giants’ concession stands because they had not received raises in more than three years.