Labor Law Considerations for Esports Teams and Athletes

April 22, 2019

Analysts predict that esports will be a $1.7 billion industry by 2021; but as revenues rise, so do legal considerations and complications. And though formal esports labor organizations are few and far between, teams and leagues are starting to explore options. However, several laws already affect the esports industry.

Esports Labor Law: Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

When athletes are employees, not independent contractors, then their teams must adhere to parameters outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act, the U.S. federal law that covers minimum wage, overtime eligibility, record keeping, and elements of child labor.

Keep in mind that just because you call someone an “independent contractor” doesn’t mean they are. Rules apply. To find out if your esports club is violating the fair labor standards act, get in touch with an esports lawyer today.

Esports Labor Law: Child Labor Laws

Is everyone on your team over 18? If not, you must adhere to various local, state, and federal child labor laws. Parents of younger players should also familiarize themselves with these statutes; depending on the jurisdiction, parents may be required to establish a trust for their child’s earnings.
Parents may be required to establish a trust for their child’s earnings.

Esports Labor Law: Drug Testing Parameters

Teams that drug test must be aware of both the guidelines and allowable substances. For example, did you know that the Americans with Disabilities Act recognizes Attention Deficit Disorder as a qualifying condition?

Esports Labor Law: Immigration and Taxation Laws

Esports is a global affair, and many teams employ non-U.S. citizens. Clubs need to be aware of the various immigration laws and visa requirements. For their part, international players should seek tax guidance to ensure they’re paying the proper amount to the right authorities.

Esports Labor Law: National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) gives employees the right to organize and initiate collective bargaining agreements with employers. Over the past several years, players and leagues have begun to form associations. To date, none have unionized under the NLRA, but it will undoubtedly soon become a central esports law issue.

Esports Labor Law: Contact an Esports Law Attorney and Agent

The Gordon Law Group works with esports athletes, teams, and vendors on employment law matters, compliance, contract negotiations, and conflict resolution. We also handle transactional matters and serve as agents for professional players.

If you’re in search of esports legal advice, get in touch today.

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