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Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits
Some MtG judges claiming unfair compensation. Tricksy.
it's funny cuz in the small amount of time i was a competitive CCG player, I couldn't BELIEVE the hours the staff were doing at these conventions. like it was ungodly. They start before 7, finish well after midnight... and I'm thinking to myself, "i wonder what the pay is for this... seems like all sorts of illegal"
I betcha the plaintiffs will win but if they do, it means big changes for Wizards and other gaming companies that do these convention things. so a settlement for sure is in the works?
They definately sign a contract too and I imagine the contract leaves it pretty open on the number of hours.
Labour laws should certainly kick in though (if you guys have any of those down there)
Gary Sax wrote: You'd be surprised. Independent contractors are THE thing right now and it is the shittiest thing to deal with ever for a lot of reasons.
Question is...do they rate as bad as solicitors? I mean, do we need to pop our switchblades on contractors too?
What is interesting about this is not just Wizards, but the ripple effect it could have on dozens of other areas. What will happen with organized play for smaller games? Aren't forum moderators also workers? And so on.
Also interesting, from some dude on BGG:
I work in a field where I deal with federal employment laws and regulations on a daily basis. I am not an attorney, but I am versed in laws, regs, precedent court decisions, etc. in my area of concern. So I have some level of expertise in this area. However, I am not a trial attorney, so don't take this as expert opinion or legal advice.
Part of determining the role of employer (versus contractor) relies on the control of the worker.
Using the definition of employer from www.duhaime.org/LegalDictionary/E/Employer.aspx , for example...
A person who is contractually bound to a worker - the employee - to give that worker money as a salary or wages, in exchange for ongoing work and for which the employer directs the work and exercises fundamental control over the work.
To be a judge for MtG, one has to pass a test, adhere to strict standards and behaviors (I imagine), and perform duties as prescribed by WotC. Thus WotC is directing the work and exercising control over the work of the judge, regardless of the venue. Thus it can be argued that WotC is acting as an employer of the judge. Precedent case law supports this notion.
Judges across all fields (ex. athletics, rec games, agricultural shows) are compensated for their work, most commonly for a fixed fee. Thus MtG should be compensated for their work. We have minimum wage laws that govern the minimum pay for any work. Thus MtG should be obligated to pay at least minimum wages as prescribed by law and regulation.
I believe the lawsuit here has merit, certainly enough to get to trial. It will be up to the attorneys to present their evidence and the judge to render a decision. I give the plaintiffs a fair shot of winning this.
Now, for the future of judges and demo teams... a win here for the plaintiffs will definitely have an impact. I know small local game production companies in my area use their own employees to demo their own product. They travel to conventions all across the country to do so. If small companies can do so, the bigger guys should do so. It is expensive? Yes. But big game companies should not have an unfair advantage in using "unpaid" (notwithstanding product compensation) demo folks to advertise for them.
If anyone has insight on the video game industry and how they do things, I'd be interested in reading about that.