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TOPIC: Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits

Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits 04 May 2016 14:47 #226929

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Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits 04 May 2016 14:52 #226931

wow

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?
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Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits 04 May 2016 14:53 #226932

In all honesty, deciding who is an employee is a huge open question in the United States right now so this isn't too surprising. The new "gig" economy is really complicated in terms of employment law. It's the Uber issue, basically.
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Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits 04 May 2016 14:59 #226933

they aren't volunteers. They're compensated to be there. I just can't remember what that is. It's free convention passes and a per diem... i think that's it?

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)
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Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits 04 May 2016 15:11 #226935

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.
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Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits 04 May 2016 15:16 #226938

It's in Cali tho! Those kids are gonna win
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Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits 04 May 2016 15:19 #226939

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?
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Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits 04 May 2016 15:23 #226942

Despite their willing complicity in rolling back labor law protections for employees, independent contractors deserve pity. They need to handle their own estimated tax deposits, buy their own health insurance, and can lose their jobs in heartbeat. All the hassles of being an employee with almost none of the advantages.
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Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits 04 May 2016 15:24 #226943

I am unsure about what constitutes an "employee" in the eyes of American law, but I think it's undeniable that they are indeed working and that they are not independent but completely reliant on Wizards of the Coast to do that work. They are probably not volunteers because they do not fit the requirements to be. Reading through the lawsuit, it seems undeniable to me that there's quite a bit of merit to the claims.

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.
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Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits 04 May 2016 15:25 #226944

Shell, they have no boss. they're entrepreneurs. they make as much money as they want to work. freedom.

all of that stuff is pretty cool. but it's certainly not for me.
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Last Edit: 04 May 2016 15:25 by Black Barney.
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Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits 04 May 2016 15:28 #226945

Our inside man at Black Diamond Games blogged on this issue a few weeks ago.

blackdiamondgames.blogspot.com/2016/04/a...yees-tradecraft.html
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Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits 04 May 2016 15:30 #226946

While not at attorney myself, I've worked 10 years in law firms and I find it hard to believe that WotC wouldnt have a clause somewhere in whatever judges sign (along with their training/tests) that protects WotC from this. But then again, some clients for the firms I've worked for try some crazy crap...

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...

Employer Definition:
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.
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Last Edit: 04 May 2016 15:32 by Ska_baron.
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Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits 04 May 2016 15:51 #226950

Web Forums should pay us minimum wage for posting and reading forum posts. Who wants to join the Class Action? We're entitled to our share of the profits. We're being exploited by evil Corporations and Capitalists. It's almost as bad as indentured servitude, slavery, or working in a coal mine.
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Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits 04 May 2016 15:56 #226951

Erik Twice wrote:
Aren't forum moderators also workers?

I demand French benefits!
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Are judges employees or volunteers? #WotCLawsuits 04 May 2016 16:35 #226956

WTF are these people bitching about, they get a 3xl-5xl sized striped shirt and the ability to act like a high and mighty jackass in front of their friends.
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