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Does this “man” look like management to you?

Feb 4, 2011, 10:58 AM EDT

Champ Mascot

The caped gentleman in the corner of this post is “Champ,” the mascot of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.  His job: to act like a loon, cause trouble, make kids laugh, make crowds cheer and to do a lot of general good will creation.  The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, however, allegedly consider him to be an executive of some kind.  At least when it comes to paying overtime:

A Pennsylvania man who worked as the mascot for a New York Yankees minor league team claims his former employer violated worker protection laws.

Brian Bonner was laid off last month from his job as Champ. He’s suing the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, claiming they improperly classified him as a manager to avoid paying him overtime.

I have no idea, obviously, if there’s anything to this. I do know a lot of people, however, who are now classified as management for jobs that, 20 years ago, were never considered such a thing.

Empowerment or exploitation? I guess the answer to that depends on how managerial you consider doing things like straight clerical or assembly work. Or, you know, shooting t-shirts into crowds with canons and riding ATVs around warning tracks.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    Maybe his discretionary power to “fire” t-shirts at people renders him exempt.

  2. uyf1950 - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Craig – Haven’t you ever heard of “not judging a book by it’s cover”.

  3. BC - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    The Vermont Lake Monsters also have a mascot named Champ. Copycats.
    http://c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000eJeFSKXyq88/s

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:10 AM

      Yep and that Champ is based of the real lake monster in Lake Champlain. I life-guarded on Lake Champlain for a summer and saw Champ eat three Canadian Geese, sink two sailboats and break into a Stewart’s shop.

      • BC - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:23 AM

        But is the lake monster in the best shape of his life?

      • clydeserra - Feb 4, 2011 at 1:58 PM

        Not to be that guy but “Canada Geese.”

        Also, would the vermont mascot be called “Shamp” instead of hard “ch” “Champ?”

  4. bloodysock - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    As Director of In Stands Entertainment, he is an exempt employee.

  5. Ralph - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    To be honest, he looks more like management than some people with that title where I work…

  6. uyf1950 - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    I guess he didn’t mind being called a manger while the club was still employing him. Now that he is out of work he has a problem with the title.

    • pwf207 - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:36 AM

      I doubt he had much say in the classification of his position. If he was getting paid at the same level as others doing managerial work then he doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on. If he wasn’t, then his organization was exploiting a loophole in labor law for monetary gain and I don’t see why you would begrudge him the attempt to seek restitution. And I don’t know many who fare well by bucking superiors in a corporate environment; I’d guess that why he didn’t bring this up till now. And why are you critical of him at all, without any knowledge of the particulars in this case?

      • uyf1950 - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:44 AM

        I don’t begrudge him. I question his timing. Why only after he got fired did he raise a stink? For $22,000 a year he could have gotten a job almost anywhere that did pay overtime. It’s not like if he raised the issue while still employed with the club that would have had a long lasting impact on his life or career choice going forward. That is unless his career choice was to be a pro sports mascot at the upper professional level. Hopefully you where I’m going with this.

  7. Panda Claus - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    Why have we had to wait this long for someone to question if this guy could do a better job than Cashman?

  8. Jonny 5 - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    Ruben Amaro is the Phanatic. I don’t see the problem.

  9. Dan in Katonah - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    There are excemtions to the overtime laws (FLSA) other than “management” (executive). One such exemption is the “artistic” one (learned or creative professional exemption). I think it might be a stretch for this guy, but not impossible. I think it more unlikely, however, that he was paid on a salary basis, rather than hourly, which is also required.

    But having practiced labor and employment law for longer than I care to admit, yes, I have seen “managers” who could only aspire to act (dress, treat employees) as well as Champ.

    P.S. Waiting until your fired to assert a claim is neither surprising nor unusual. It is the norm as people tend to fear rocking the boat and jeopardizing their jobs to assert their rights. Even mascots apparently.

    • Dan in Katonah - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:58 AM

      sorry, typo – meant exemptions

      And I have no idea if PA mirrors the FLSA, but often state laws do.

  10. Adam - Feb 4, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    How low on the totem pole are you if this guy is your manager?

    • madhatternalice - Feb 4, 2011 at 12:50 PM

      you should see the guy who has to clean the costume!

      • BC - Feb 4, 2011 at 12:58 PM

        Or the guy who is the Assistant Costume-Putter-Onner-And-Taker-Offer….

  11. Old Gator - Feb 4, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    To me, he looks like a Bush-era environmental inspector.

    • aaronmoreno - Feb 4, 2011 at 4:33 PM

      To me, he looks like a Hawaii birth certificate inspector.

      • aaronmoreno - Feb 4, 2011 at 4:34 PM

        To me, he looks like a Clinton-era federal breast inspector.

      • aaronmoreno - Feb 4, 2011 at 4:40 PM

        To me, he looks like a Reagan-era Alzheimer’s inspector.

    • Old Gator - Feb 4, 2011 at 7:46 PM

      To me, he looks fair and balanced.

  12. xxakshunxx - Feb 4, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    how come this guys just never used the Management title to his advantage by putting it on his resume.. im sure he couldve gotten a job out of it and by the time they realized he had no real management skills and laid him off it wouldve balanced out the OT pay

  13. Chris K - Feb 4, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    Didn’t Red Lobster get in trouble for classifying all their workers as junior management a while ago?

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