U.S. Open Umpires and Linesmen Are Independent Contractors, Court Rules

English: An umpire informing Kimiko Date and a...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Baker Hostetler – JDSupra — “In an opinion that disappointingly failed to take advantage of countless pun opportunities, a federal judge in New York otherwise got it right, ruling that the United States Tennis Association properly classified U.S. Open tennis officials as independent contractors, not employees. Meyer v. United States Tennis Ass’n, No. 1:11-cv-6268 (S.D.N.Y. Sep. 11, 2014).

The lawsuit, filed during match play in the quarterfinals of the 2011 U.S. Open tournament, alleged that the USTA violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law by declining to pay chair umpires and linesmen an overtime premium for work in excess of forty hours per week. Applying the “economic realities” test applicable to FLSA claims, and applying similar New York State standards, the District Court held that the officials retained significant discretion over how and when to perform their jobs, retained a risk of profit or loss, and retained substantial flexibility to work for other employers, including other tennis organizations. These factors, the Court held, required a conclusion that the officials were indeed independent contractors, and that the overtime rules therefore did not apply…”

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