According to a recent San Francisco Chronicle report, “as a result of a federal audit by the U.S. Labor Department, The San Francisco Giants baseball team has agreed to pay approximately $700,000 in back wages and penalties to 74 batboys, cooks, clubhouse attendants and other employees for alleged improper salary practices.”
The Giants were allegedly paying these employees a flat game rate, even though, according to Federal and California state employment laws, they should have been paid by the hour. The batboys, for instance were being paid about $55 a game, regardless of how many hours they worked.
The Giants baseball team claims the employees were not being stiffed. A Giants spokesperson says, “Many of the players pay the workers handsome tips and some employees also got a split of the bonuses that players receive for making the postseason.”
In issuing the back paychecks, team executives told the employees that “although the Giants may not agree with these findings, we have made the decision to resolve this matter as requested, by the Labor Department.”
After adding in penalties and even more salary owed under California state law, the total exceeded $700,000. Each employee will receive an average payout of more than $9,400.
In California being paid a flat rate does not eliminate an employee’s right to be paid an overtime premium for long days. If an employee is paid on a flat-rate basis and works more than 8 hours in one day, the employer must pay that employee the appropriate overtime premium.
This being said, if a bat boy making a $50 flat rate works for nine hours, then he must be paid at least minimum wage for the 8 eight hours, plus the overtime premium for the work performed after 8 hours. The employee worked one hour beyond eight, so is entitled to the overtime premium of 1.5 time the hourly rate for that hour, or $12.00 per hour. Therefore, in this scenario, the bat boy must be paid at least $76.00 for the 9 hours of work.
If your employer is in violation of Federal or California State Wage and Hour Laws, please contact California Employment Attorney, Todd M. Friedman at 877-449-8898 for a free consultation.