The discrimination lawsuit Kelly Klein filed against her former company in ROH could have major reverberations across the pro wrestling industry, according to her attorney, Stephen P. New.
New issued a statement to WrestleZone’s Dominic DeAngelo regarding the lawsuit, which was filed on February 24, and noted a very important aspect that hasn’t been reported: making the claim that Klein should not be considered an independent contractor but an employee.
“The one thing the [wrestling news sites] are all missing is the misclassification allegations in the lawsuit as well. We are asking the court to strike down the independent contractor agreement in its entirety,” New said. “This could be revolutionary for the entire industry if the federal judge rules in our favor,” New added. “I’m excited to see how this will go.”
The first claim in the Klein lawsuit that proposes the “declaratory judgement finding the arbitration agreement void or voidable.” Article 73 and 74 under this claim makes the case for the court to consider Klein as an employee under the state of Maryland when factoring in their strong public policy on the matter and therein rendering ROH’s contractual agreement between the company and Klein void.
The two articles are as follows:
“73. The arbitration provisions purport to apply to the determination of whether Klein is, in fact, an independent contractor or an employee and its terms purport to prohibit the determination that Klein is an employee as the arbitration provisions attempt to prohibit the modification of the contract.
“74. The State of Maryland has a strong public policy that employees be paid the wages they are due and a strong public policy to ensure that individuals are not misclassified as independent contractors when, in fact, they are employees.”
The full document can be viewed below:
Wrestling’s independent contractor status has been something long debated in the industry. It has recently caught more attention over the course of 2020 due to politician Andrew Yang and television host John Oliver shining a light on it after WWE’s April releases and the company releasing Zelina Vega over third-party promotion and streaming services. WrestleZone will be sure to keep you updated as this story develops.