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MLB pays $185M to settle minor leaguers’ FLSA minimum wage, OT claims

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Major League Baseball has completed the payout of a $185 million settlement with minor league baseball players who alleged that their teams failed to pay them minimum wage and overtime for hours worked, the Associated Press reported Monday.

The news is the latest development in Senne v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, a 2014 suit in which a group of former and current minor leaguers alleged they were not paid for spring training, extended spring training or instructional leagues. The plaintiffs also alleged timekeeping and recordkeeping violations under the Fair Labor Standard Act

In 2022, parties to the suit announced a tentative settlement agreement providing an anticipated average recovery of between $5,000 to $5,500. On March 29, 2023, a federal judge granted motions for final approval of the settlement.

At press time, neither MLB nor legal representatives for the plaintiffs responded to HR Dive requests for comment.

Following the judge’s approval of the settlement in March, Garrett Broshuis, partner at Korein Tillery and attorney for the players, said in a statement that “after 9 years of litigation, we’re happy that the court has approved the settlement.”

“This is a landmark result that will provide much-needed backpay to thousands of minor league players, and that will usher in important changes to their contracts,” Broshuis added. “Until recently, most players earned less than $10,000 for an entire year of work and went months without receiving a paycheck, even during required work periods like spring training. This settlement is a big step towards rectifying that, and we were privileged to have represented the players in this case.”

In April, MLB owners approved a five-year collective bargaining agreement that established new increased pay levels for minor leaguers, with rookie players eligible to receive a minimum annual salary of $20,000 on a first contract. In court documents, the Senne plaintiffs said most minor league players had previously been paid between $3,000 and $10,000 per year.

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