All of the major players in the sports industry around the world—the overarching leagues, the teams and clubs, and professional athletes—must abide by employment and workplace relations laws just like all other commercial enterprises. However, due to accelerating market complexity and regulations, it is common to encounter sporting-specific rules that do not fit neatly within standard labor laws. Legal support from lawyers who have real, proven experience in the commercial, cultural, political, and regulatory aspects of the sporting industry is a necessity.
Our sports clients not only rely on us to help with their standard day-to-day employment issues; we also serve as a trusted advisor for tailored solutions unique to the sporting industry. We have experience helping clients with high-stakes or first-of-their-kind matters, such as assisting with transgender participation policies, addressing gender equity issues in payment, and maneuvering the complications COVID-19 has created for the sports industry and its workforce across the globe. We also have experience drafting player and umpire contracts, negotiating collective agreements, and advising on grievance issues.
The seasonal nature of sports leads to complicated labor and employment issues relating to the classification of workers as casual employees, contractors, or volunteers. Our lawyers are adept at handling these complex contracts and labor considerations. We help teams and players when fines and penalties are imposed, and are poised to assist with antitrust exemptions relating to player unions.
Our team members are known as leading practitioners in this space, particularly in the Australian market. As an example of our commitment to client service, we operate a hotline service for a national sporting organization in Australia, which all clubs use to proactively seek out employment and safety advice to manage their employment law issues. This ensures a consistent industry approach for the code. Our Labor and Employment team is dedicated to providing practical solutions to address the unique legal needs of our clients in the sports space.