Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Female Football Players Sue Lingerie League For Independent Contractor Misclassification

A former Lingerie Football League player has filed a class action lawsuit in a California state court against the all-female professional league (now called the Legends Football League) and it’s founder and chairman Mitchell Mortaza. The lawsuit claims that active and former players were intentionally misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees. The complaint alleges a number of violations of the California wage and hour laws, including failure to pay compensation for all hours worked; failure to pay at least the minimum wage; and failure to pay overtime wages.

The League allegedly mandated attendance at practices, games, and marketing events on dates and at times established by the League and reserved the right to punish or fire players for failure to attend such events; prohibited the players from participating in any outside activities that might result in significant physical injury; and did not allow any negotiation regarding the terms of the independent contractor agreement. Margulies v. Legends Football League, LLC, No. BC550244 (Super. Ct. Cal. June 27, 2014).

As stated in the complaint of the suit, “the designation of the football players as independent contractors was and is clearly improper because the players lack the requisite control and discretion over their job responsibilities and duties to deserve treatment as independent contractors.”  By classifying players as independent contractors, the league was (and still is) able to circumvent applicable wage and hour laws, and deprive them of benefits including workers’ compensation.

Certainly, one can appreciate the importance of workers’ compensation benefits to league football players who are engaging in a contact sport where serious or even catastrophic injuries may occur.  

Georgia Headquartered Home Depot Cited by OSHA for Serious Hazards

A Home Depot store in Chicago has been cited by OSHA for six violations, including two repeat, one willful, and three serious safety violations.  The repeat and willful violations involved lack of training and maintenance for powered industrial vehicles.

Employees at this Home Depot location used powered vehicles around-the-clock to accept stock and move goods to customers’ vehicles.  According to OSHA, the type and duration of these activities made operator training and maintenance for these vehicles vital to employee safety.  The failures at this store call in to question Home Depot’s corporate-wide safety procedures and should motivate it to ensure that all stores have integrated the necessary safety procedures and training.

In the past five years, countrywide, Home Depot has been cited over 120 times for health and safety violations at its stores, which employ approximately 325,000 people.

Annually, thousands of workers are injured, sometimes fatally, while operating these powered vehicles.  From 2005 through 2013, these vehicles were involved in 105 occupational fatalities in Illinois, Ohio, and Wisconsin alone.

In July 2012, Home Depot was cited by OSHA for failing to evaluate the performance of forklift operators’ at its Douglasville, Georgia store.  A second repeat violation was issued for failing to perform shift-by-shift inspections of forklifts.

In addition to the numerous violations noted previously, three serious violations were issued for exposing workers to chemical burns from sulfuric acid by failing to require the use of face, eye and hand protection when working with powered industrial vehicle batteries.

The home improvement retail giant has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply with or contest the OSHA findings.


Georgia Firefighters With Cancer Fight Uphill Battle To Receive Workers' Compensation Benefits

A local news station in Georgia has uncovered an alarming and disappointing fact about metro Atlanta fire departments.  Sadly, local fire departments throughout the city do not have policies in place to limit exposure to hazardous chemicals, thereby increasing firefighters’ risk of developing cancer.  As a result, firefighters in the Atlanta and surrounding areas rarely receive workers’ compensation benefits.