Joey Mercury is the most recent professional wrestling expertise to fireside up the “impartial contractor vs. worker” debate in a latest lawsuit filed towards Ring of Honor. The previous agent and coach makes robust claims towards his former place of employment within the swimsuit that features disregard for expertise security.
Mercury (actual title Adam Birch) filed swimsuit within the state of Maryland towards Ring of Honor and Sinclair Broadcasting claiming that he was an worker reasonably than an impartial contractor throughout his time on the firm, a tenure that spanned from Might of 2018 to October 2019. The swimsuit additionally claims that he was compelled to resign as a result of firm’s “lack of concern for the expertise” and his elevated workload for the corporate and not using a “commensurate enhance” in pay. Article 33 via 35 in Mercury’s lawsuit describes his resignation as follows:
- Through the time that Birch was performing companies for ROH and Sinclair, Birch devoted himself to bettering the working circumstances and salaries of the Expertise (wrestling performers). Birch expressed considerations to ROH and Sinclair concerning the shortage of security protocols and accessible medical supervision in the course of the matches. Birch tried to safe Expertise for ROH and Sinclair and tried to acquire affordable compensation for the Expertise. Birch endeavored to preliminary efficient communication between ROH and Sinclair and the Expertise. Birch’s efforts had been disregarded by ROH and Sinclair and this disregard produced an unsafe working surroundings and poor general working circumstances and morale.
- Through the time Birch was performing companies for ROH and Sinclair, he was paid considerably lower than different people performing these identical companies for comparable firms.
- Because of the full lack of concern for the Expertise and the growing tasks and not using a commensurate enhance in compensation, Birch was compelled to go away ROH and Sinclair on October 25, 2019.
The lawsuit additionally notes Maryland’s robust public coverage in terms of employment standing after which makes the declare that Mercury is misclassified as an impartial contractor (Articles 63- 67):
- “The final pattern in Maryland has been to narrowly outline ‘impartial contractor’ and to guard worker entry to unemployment insurance coverage, staff’ compensation insurance coverage, and different advantages.” (See, Id.)
- “The Office Fraud Act, which turned efficient on October 1, 2009, makes it a violation to fail to correctly classify staff as staff, and imposes penalties on these employers who knowingly misclassify their staff. LE § 9-402.1.” (See, Id.)
- The “Restoration of Advantages and Penalties for Fraud Act,” which turned efficient on October 1, 2016, imposes vital civil penalties for figuring out misclassification of staff as impartial contractors.
- The Settlement clearly misclassifies Birch as an impartial contractor when he was, in reality, an worker. Sinclair and ROH retained the suitable to manage each facet of Birch’s efficiency of companies and overrode his impartial judgment concerning the perfect method through which to carry out his companies. Sinclair and ROH additionally retained the suitable to ban Birch from performing companies for different entities with out consent. Sinclair and ROH retained the suitable to terminate Birch’s efficiency of companies for Sinclair and ROH, however denied Birch the suitable to terminate his provision of companies in the course of the first six months of the Settlement. Sinclair and ROH retained the suitable to terminate the connection for trigger and imposed a restrictive covenant.
- The intent and import of the Settlement was to make Birch an worker whereas misclassifying him as an impartial contractor.
If Mercury is certainly misclassified as an impartial contractor, then the lawsuit continues to file declare of breach of contract. He additionally seeks royalties due and his ultimate declare occurs to be abusive discharge (within the different) and makes the next statements additional alleged that ROH did not conduct matches in a protected method for its expertise (Articles 93-97):
- A nexus exists between Birch’s actions in making an attempt to make sure the security of the Expertise and acquiring affordable compensation for the Expertise and Birch’s compelled resignation from Sinclair and ROH.
- Birch repeatedly expressed opinions to Sinclair, ROH, and others concerning the actions of Sinclair and ROH. These opinions that had been expressed regarded the security of the skilled wrestlers and the inadequacy of the pay for the Expertise.
- Sinclair and ROH had been the promoters of the wrestling matches through which Birch expressed concern concerning the security of the wrestlers.
- COMAR 19.14.08.06(B) requires that the promoter shall be accountable for conducting wrestling contests in a protected, peaceful, and orderly trend.
- Sinclair and ROH did not conduct the wrestling matches in a protected method. Wrestlers suffered accidents from wrestling that weren’t acknowledged and never addressed. Sinclair and ROH permitted unsafe wrestling practices to happen and failed to reply to Birch’s complaints concerning the unsafe practices.
- As a direct and proximate results of Birch’s complaints and actions concerning the shortage of security protocols at Sinclair and ROH wrestling occasions and Sinclair and ROH’s full lack of concern for the security of the wrestlers, Birch was compelled to resign.
- Birch is entitled to compensatory damages instantly ensuing from the termination of the connection with Sinclair and ROH.
Mercury isn’t the one former ROH star submitting such a declare towards the corporate. Former Ladies of Honor Champion Kelly Klein filed a discrimination swimsuit in late February. Klein additionally challenges her classification as an impartial contractor.
RELATED: Kelly Klein Information Discrimination Lawsuit Towards Ring Of Honor, Sinclair Broadcasting