<em>Legally</em> <strong>Speaking</strong>


Read Jim's Baseball Winter Meetings presentation on ballpark liability, the Anheuser-Busch sponsorship lawsuit and health care reform for teams.

Read Jim's tips on sponsorship and naming rights agreements.

Read Jim's presentation on ballpark liability, ballpark leases and Minor League Baseball-regulated transactions.

Read Jim's presentation on ballpark liability and ADA amendments.


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Employee or independent contractor? It's still an issue

Employee versus independent contractor status requires complicated analysis of many factors. The employer's risk for misclassification can be substantial, as I have written in Legally Speaking (see "Employment law update: two timely topics" in the Spring 2010 issue).

The issue is still alive, perhaps even more so in 2016, as the Internal Revenue Service continues to scrutinize independent contractor relationships. And, as I wrote in the earlier article, overtime becomes an issue as well, further complicating matters and increasing greatly potential financial liability.

The basic rule is whether the employer controls the duties of the individual. If in doubt, the conservative route is to pay the person as an employee. Since my last article, the IRS has instituted the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program, which offers relief from much of the tax liability, interest and penalties for employers who have misclassified employees as independent contractors.

For more details on the subject, the IRS has updated its publication, "Independent Contractor (Self-Employed) or Employee?" I thank Legally Speaking reader Jackson Hille, as content associate for FormSwift, for pointing out the change and for bringing to my attention two articles that he co-wrote on the subject, "The Freelancer's Essential Guide to Business and Taxes" and "A Tax Guide for Independent Contractors and the Companies Who Hire Them".

 —March 14, 2015

Minor League Baseball joins Major League teams in endorsing MLB's new netting policy

Several Major League teams and Minor League Baseball have endorsed MLB's recommendation on extending netting to improve fan safety. The recommendation, made at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, is to increase safety netting to between the near ends of both dugouts and within 70 feet of home plate.

With increasing ball-and-bat injuries to fans, and the eroding in some states of the protection of the so-called baseball rule, it was clear some action would be taken. It was wise to do it now, to avoid future injuries as well as ballpark liability issues.

MiLB agreed and issued a statement, which begins: "Minor League Baseball is very appreciative of the time and effort that went into the research done by Major League Baseball in an effort to balance fan safety and the overall fan experience." Read the rest here.

The Phillies and the Red Sox were among the first majors to commend Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred on the new policy, and were soon joined by the Dodgers, Cubs and Rays.

Manfred was quoted on MLB.com, "I am confident that this recommendation will result not only in additional netting at Major League ballparks but also draw additional attention to the need for fans who make the choice not to sit behind netting to be prepared for the possibility of foul balls and bats entering the stands." The full story is available here.

 —December 10, 2015


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