Judge rules minor league players are MLB employees throughout year and are owed damages


news aggravator
SoSH Member
Dec 4, 2009
A federal judge has ruled that minor league players are considered employees throughout the calendar year and that Major League Baseball is a joint employer, giving victories to the plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit that’s set to go to trial in June.

In his 181-page summary judgment motion, judge Joseph Spero of the Northern District of California also found that the plaintiffs performed “work” during spring training in Arizona and Florida, and that travel time on team buses to away games during spring training and in California during the regular season is compensable under law. The case, Senne vs. Major League Baseball, is a lawsuit brought forth by minor-league players in 2014 over player pay under various wage laws, including those in Florida and Arizona.

A trial is set to begin June 1, and the plaintiffs have already been awarded some damages. Spero ruled that plaintiffs are entitled to $1,882,650 in penalties on a California claim, and that they’re owed money on an Arizona claim as well, but that the amount would have to be determined at trial.

The judge’s finding that MLB is a joint employer along with clubs exposes not only individual teams to the lawsuit, but the central office itself.

this is going to have huge repercussions if this does not get overturned on appeal (perhaps as big as the NCAA ruling by SCOTUS in regards to student athletes)

Manuel Aristides

SoSH Member
Apr 7, 2009
This is great news, but, that a magistrate judge decided it means this is far from over. Three potential appeals will likely follow. The case essentially just passed high A. There's Portland and Pawt-- Worcester to go before we even find out if SCOTUS wants to hear it in The Show. But I too love the decision and it seems like a pretty strong one. Winning the first round will make things easier on the players going forward through the appeal process, for sure. Amazing to see someone finally fighting for the minor leaguers, to say nothing of winning!

PC Drunken Friar

SoSH Member
Sep 12, 2003
South Boston
Couldn't find a more relevant thread for this...

5 Teams (Marlins, Reds, A's Brewers and Angels) don't pay salaries for extended spring training. They give them $20/day for food. Most teams practiced this type of cheapness until 2021.


In a change from just a couple years ago, most major league teams pay their players a salary during extended, a period when players both train and play games. But five teams did not pay this year, according to the non-profit Advocates for Minor Leaguers, which identified the A’s, Angels, Brewers, Marlins and Reds as those clubs.
Advocates for Minor Leaguers started to press the issue publicly, which Marino said helped produce quick change — the Giants, Mets, Nationals and Red Sox were among teams that changed their policy to pay players a complex-league level salary during extended spring training and also provide back pay for the 2021 season.
What teams are legally required to pay players during extended is part of a long-running class-action lawsuit, known as Senne vs. the Commissioner’s Office, which is in settlement talks right now.

So clearly, what we’ve seen is just based upon our raising awareness and providing accountability over what teams are actually doing, the norm has shifted from not paying a year ago, to paying this year,” Marino said. “But there are still these handful of holdout teams that are not paying players in extended, as a result of which, there are still some players in the minor leagues this season that are on track to make less than $5,000 for the entire year.”
The absolute greed of MLB is astounding ( but not surprising).