Under Investigation, Washington WHL Teams Seek Labor Law Exempti - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Under Investigation, Washington WHL Teams Seek Labor Law Exemption

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Washington's Western Hockey League, currently under investigation for child labor practices, have asked the Legislature for exemptions to state labor laws. (Photo: WHL) Washington's Western Hockey League, currently under investigation for child labor practices, have asked the Legislature for exemptions to state labor laws. (Photo: WHL)
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington's youth hockey teams in the Western Hockey League, currently under investigation for child labor practices, have asked the Legislature for exemptions to state labor laws.

In a hearing before the Washington state Senate's Commerce and Labor Committee Wednesday, officials from the state's four WHL teams and the league office said the league might have to pull out of Washington if state law isn't changed to consider amateur athletes non-employees. If players in the league are considered employees, they are subject to the state laws governing minimum wage and working conditions, including child labor laws.

The WHL officials told the Senate committee that the league's players, who range from 16 to 20 years old, earn no pay for their play but are awarded a year of college scholarship money for each WHL season they play. 

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries has been investigating the WHL's four Washington teams since a child labor complaint was filed with the agency in 2013. 

For more on the WA DOLI's case click here: http://bit.ly/WQNV2r




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