[posted 3/22/11 to http://wrestlingbabylon.wordpress.com]
Yesterday: Part 1, Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Last week I asked Glenn Marshall, Connecticut’s new labor commissioner, to explain how interested parties can share information relevant to the state’s investigation of World Wrestling Entertainment independent contractor practices.
As noted previously, Marshall, formerly a Carpenters Union official, had served on the bipartisan commission that drafted a tougher state law cracking down on “misclassification.”
The Labor Department’s response began with the standard disclaimer that it could neither confirm nor deny that WWE was being audited. (WWE itself disclosed the existence of the audit last year, during Linda McMahon’s Senate campaign.)
Staff attorney Heidi Lane said complaints or referrals about employer practices can be filed through the department’s website form, http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/uitax/FAcomplaint.doc. There is also a new form designed specifically for misclassification referrals, at . http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstnd/JEC/JEC.htm.
The department does accept anonymous tips.
Like the federal government, Connecticut has anti-retaliation laws protecting individuals filing unemployment, safety, and wage complaints. If a worker believes he or she has been “discharged, disciplined, penalized or otherwise discriminated against by any person” in violation of Section 231-226a of the state code, the labor commissioner upon written request will hold a hearing and rule on the matter.
In addition, the commissioner may ask the attorney general to bring an action in state Superior Court “for injunctive relief requiring compliance with any award, decision or judgment” issued by the Labor Department.
The means to help pro wrestlers improve their working conditions exist. People in the industry can do it collectively or they can do it individually. They can do it publicly or they can do it anonymously.
The alternative is to continue to sit around and wait to die young, needlessly, from participation in scripted entertainment.