What are the potential effects of the Northwestern NLRB decision on New York compensation claims?

Generic_American_Football_Being_Passed
Monday, 23 June 2014 By Cory A. Decresenza
Prior entries to Goldberg Segalla’s Sports and Entertainment Law Insider blog have discussed in detail some of the legal and practical issues for college football programs made by the recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision regarding Northwestern University football players. (Recent blog entries have analyzed the ramifications on university athletic programs and student-athletes, as well as the responses of coaches and players.)
In addition to the civil liability issues discussed in those articles, particularized problems would arise in the workers’ compensation context in the event that student-athletes are found to be employees entitled to those benefits. A few of the issues that immediately stand out in New York claims would be:
  • Wages: A basic building block of any workers’ compensation claim, disputes would certainly arise as to what an injured student-athlete’s “average weekly wage” is. Wages are defined by the New York Workers’ Compensation Law as “the money rate at which the service rendered is recompensed under the contract of hiring in force at the time of the accident, including the reasonable value of board, rent, housing, lodging, or similar advantage received from the employer.” Under this definition, the logistical difficulties of calculating average weekly wage become apparent — what is includable in “wages,” including scholarship money, meal plans, boarding, and travel accommodations would certainly be up for dispute.

  • Part-Time vs. Full-Time Status: Also important to the calculation of average weekly wage and benefits would be the status of a student-athlete as part-time or full-time. In general, a New York employer is required to keep track of the number of days an employee works. Certainly, legal disputes could arise as to what constitutes a day worked, since this could include practices, game days, workouts (voluntary or involuntary), team meetings, and off-season practices or workouts. Whether each category of team activity would constitute a day worked could have a significant impact on the wage and benefit analysis of an injured student-athlete.

Continue reading this article...

Register with your email and password
Already a member? Sign in

Get access to all of the expert analysis and commentary at LawInSport including articles, webinars, conference videos and podcast transcripts.  Find out more here.

Related Articles

Written by

Cory A. Decresenza

Cory A. Decresenza

Cory DeCresenza is an associate in Goldberg Segalla’s Syracuse office who concentrates on workers’ compensation litigation. Cory is a former clerk for the New York State Appellate Division, Fourth Department.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.

Courses

Legal Advisors


Copyright © LawInSport Limited 2010 - 2021. These pages contain general information only. Nothing in these pages constitutes legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter. The information provided here was accurate as of the day it was posted; however, the law may have changed since that date. This information is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any specific situation. LawInSport is not responsible for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of this information. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.