“Volunteers” freely offer their time and efforts to perform a service. However, this does not give the organization free reign to overwork their employees and withhold meal breaks. If this sounds familiar to you, perhaps you’ve worked for one of these professional golf tournaments listed below:
The PGA Tour
The Champions Tour
The Web.com Tour
The PGA staffs approximately 2,000 unpaid employees who work within the areas of scoring, player relief, marshal, information ambassador, vendor, and other jobs on the driving range and the course. In addition to these jobs, workers are also expected to collect trash on the course, keep coolers around the tee boxes and greens stocked with water and sports drinks, park cars, and scan tickets—tasks that are normally performed by paid employees.
Due to the abundance of these tasks and the lack of staff, many of PGA’s “volunteers” eat lunch while they work. Some are stuck on the course all day due to the logistics of the events, which causes them to miss their meal breaks. Even though the tour is a non-profit organization and sets up many of the tournaments as charitable events, only approximately 16 percent of revenue is donated to charities, while the remainder is allocated to prize money or to support the brand.
Being unpaid without meal breaks isn’t the only problem these workers face while toiling for the PGA Tour. The organization often requires its “volunteers” to purchase their uniforms, which include $90 tour branded polo shirts and $24 baseball caps. In addition, many of these workers are from out of town and aren’t reimbursed for their hotel fees—which are elevated during the tournament week.
This clear mistreatment of workers by the PGA Tour and others violates the Fair Labor Standards Act and California Wage and Hour laws. If you performed job duties on behalf of the PGA, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your hours worked, missed meal breaks, uniforms purchased and hotel stays. Even though you were labeled as a “volunteer”, if the tasks you performed fall under the responsibility of an employee, you deserve compensation for your time.
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