I was actually going to ignore this one, I was thinking, typical of some former WWE wrestler to sue the company years after they have been released. Then I thought that Raven (real name Scott Levy) is a genius. He’s a member of Mensa (which if you don’t know what it is, according to wikipedia.org is: “the largest, oldest, and most famous high-IQ society in the world. It is a non-profit organization open to people who score at the 98th percentile or higher on a standardized, supervised intelligence test. Mensa is formally composed of national groups and the umbrella organization Mensa International.” to read more about Mensa please go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensa_International). Anyway, I just always heard that he was a pretty smart guy and that most people were just shocked that he was a wrestler. And that he wouldn’t join up with just any lawsuit, knowing how many the WWE actually win on a year to year basis. It would have to be something huge.
Just for a heads up, I think this is pretty interesting. The wrestlers who work for WWE are considered Independent Contractors and are not actual employees of the company, so they don’t have to receive any benefits or 401 Ks or pensions. The people who work behind the scenes are, or work in their corporate offices are. But the people who physically perform on a day to day basis aren’t. And Scott Levy (AKA Raven) and a bunch of former employees are suing them because all technicalities aside, that’s kind of against the law…apparently. Read up and tell me what you think.
I found the link to this off of wrestlezone.com but the actual site that it comes from is phillyburbs.com:
Ex-WWE stars sue the WWE
By ERIC GARGIULO
I always found Scott Levy (aka: Raven) to be a very influential wrestler. However, I had no idea that Scott Levy may wind up having this much potential influence on an entire industry. Scott Levy is leading a lawsuit of former against the WWE in a case that could change the entire landscape of the pro wrestling industry.
The WWE was served with a lawsuit from Scott Levy and some unnamed ex-employees on July 24. Levy and the other wrestlers allege they were treated unfairly by the WWE. The suit alleges that WWEâ€™s classification of its wrestlers as independent contractors as opposed to employees is unfair and illegal.
This lawsuit could be huge on a lot of levels. Other than a few rare exceptions, pro wrestlers are used as independent contractors. This allows the WWE, TNA, and other independent companies the ability to use these wrestlers without having to offer its wrestlers benefits, workmanâ€™s comp, a 401K, a pension plan, and everything else you would expect to receive as a full-time employee. But donâ€™t you dare ask for a day off!
Former WCW executive and WWE talent Eric Bischoff wrote on his websiteâ€¦â€While the Chairman can stack the deck with a Board of Directors and executive management team that looks more like a friends and family reunion than anything else, should the IRS determine that WWEâ€™s contracted talent are employees and not independent contractors, there is the potential for significant fines, expenses, and cost of doing business on a go-forward basis that could have a serious negative impact on WWE stock.â€
The pro wrestling business is pretty amazing in that it can operate in 2008 like it operated in 1908. One of the hopes of an investigation by the government by many wrestlers was the hope that the WWE would have to change the status of its wrestlers. A WWE wrestler is an independent contractor in the eyes of the company. Is a WWE wrestler treated like an independent contractor?
There are several ways to look at this from both sides of the argument. The WWEâ€™s case is quite simply, you donâ€™t have to work there. If you donâ€™t like the policy, go look for work elsewhere. The WWE are the big game in town and as a wrestler, you wonâ€™t make money elsewhere like you would in the WWE. The choice is easy. Nobody is holding a gun to your head to wrestle for the WWE.
The Raven argument is that hey, the WWE isnâ€™t exactly doing charity work when they hire you. A wrestler hired by the WWE is hired because they think he or she can draw money. Top wrestlers will make their money but what about the bottom level talent? What is the responsibility of the WWE if a wrestler gets hurt working and canâ€™t ever work again? You will see how quick someone is classified as an employee when they try and get a job somewhere else.
The bottom line here is that this could be huge. If Raven is successful on his case, I would presume that the WWE would have to restructure everyoneâ€™s contract within the company. Having the financial responsibilities of benefits, 401Ks, etc could result in a ton of cuts. The extra costs could be enormous and needless to say the stock holders wonâ€™t be happy.
In the end I feel this could be a great thing for all but the handful of guys in the WWE making seven figures a year. I just hope that Raven and these other wrestlers see this suit through to the end. Regardless of the outcome, this is an incredibly gutsy thing for all of the wrestlers involved. The wins could be a game changer for everyone in pro wrestling.
A loss could likely result in the wrestlers involved never working for a major company in pro wrestling again.