Emerald City Comicon Being Sued For Not Paying Volunteers

A former volunteer has filed a class action lawsuit against Emerald City Comicon, claiming that the convention owes them wages for time worked at the for-profit convention. They claim that the event treated “minions” (the con’s term for their workers) like employees instead of volunteers at their 2014 and 2015 conventions.

The legality of volunteering for for-profit companies is a complicated question, but the state of Washington in theory doesn’t allow it. ReedPOP, who recently took over ECCC, appear acutely aware of this, as they began paying workers with the 2016 event.

How this pans out could set a precedent for for-profit conventions in the state of Washington, and it’ll be interesting to see how this one pans out.

Via Seattlish

Trae Dorn

Trae Dorn has been staffing conventions for over twenty years, and is a co-founder of Wisconsin’s longest running Anime convention No Brand Con. Trae also wrote and drew the now completed webcomic UnCONventional, and produces the podcasts BS-Free Witchcraft, On This Day With Trae, Stormwood & Associates, and The Nerd & Tie Podcast. This leads many to ask when the hell they have time to actually do anything anymore. Trae says they have the time because they “do it all quite poorly.”

4 thoughts on “Emerald City Comicon Being Sued For Not Paying Volunteers

  • May 19, 2016 at 11:10 am
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    Yeah, it is an interesting topic: For-profit cons & volunteer labor. Thankfully we’re a not-for-profit corp in NJ but I’m still interested in how this all going to shake out. Some moral & legal angles to be explored.

    Reply
  • May 19, 2016 at 4:33 pm
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    Gonna guess this volunteer had a bad experience…

    Reply
  • May 19, 2016 at 8:21 pm
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    I’m glad I clicked through to read the rest of this, because the headline alone made me scratch my head. I’m used to the term ‘volunteer’ meaning ‘person who agreed to work without pay.’

    Reply
    • May 20, 2016 at 9:10 pm
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      While that is the definition of volunteer (hopefully), WA labor laws clear state that for-profit businesses/events are not allowed to have volunteers, and that all workers must be paid at least minimum wage.

      Reply

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