<
>

Lawsuit contends Hornets ran afoul of labor laws

NEW ORLEANS -- Eight former New Orleans Hornets employees
filed a lawsuit Friday alleging that the team had a practice of
requiring people to work overtime without being paid for it in
violation of federal labor law.

Filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, the lawsuit alleges
that the Hornets violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by requiring
employees to work more than 40 hours, including extra hours in the
office, at public functions, during games and at home.
The lawsuit alleges that while the team failed to track hours or
offer extra pay, employees "were admonished, suffered retaliatory
action, and were otherwise treated with disfavor by Hornets
officers, directors or managers if they did not work overtime."
The lawsuit goes on to allege that certain managers in the
team's business office even told employees they could lose their
jobs if they did not show a willingness to work beyond normal
business hours on a regular basis.
The Hornets had no immediate comment. A message left on a team
spokesman's cell phone was not returned Friday evening and a lawyer
for the team said he had not seen the lawsuit yet.
The lawsuit was filed as a collective action, meaning any
current or former employee who decides to make similar claims can
join. The lawsuit also claims that some managers -- only one of
whom, Kristy McKearn, was named -- have threatened to fire and
provide poor references for any current employee who attempts to
collect overtime pay by legal means.
It asks a judge to order the team to pay an amount equal to all
of the plaintiffs' unpaid overtime, plus attorneys fees and other
related damages.
The franchise has seen a surge in turnover among both staff and
top management, with several dozen of people being fired or
quitting, in the past year-and-a-half.