Jerry Brooks is initiating a class action suit against Emerald City Comicon. He alleges the convention broke Washington state employment laws. They used volunteers to do tasks normally performed by paid employees. The convention referred to these volunteers as “minions.”
Emerald City Comicon did not pay minions.
Legally, they were not in a position where they could take advantage of an unpaid volunteer labor force. They are not a non-profit organization. If they applied for and were granted non-profit status from the IRS, they could have used volunteers as workers.
They didn’t do that.
I think paying volunteers for the 2106 event is troublesome for the defendants. If Emerald City Comicon paid 2016 minions for the work they performed, why didn’t they pay their earlier minion workforce? I also have to think at least some of the minions paid in 2016 were minions in past conventions doing the same duties.
Something else that may be trouble for the defendants is the plaintiff. There’s a Linkedin profile for a Jerry Brooks who listed volunteer work for Emerald City Comicon, specifically, that he supervised over 100 volunteers. If this is the same Jerry Brooks who filed the lawsuit, he may have detailed records of the work done by the minions.
In retrospect, I wonder if the creators of the con wish they called their employees something other than “minions.” I doubt that term would go over real well in a courtroom. It’s probably related to the animated movie Despicable Me, but it sounds extremely pejorative. This is especially true if you’ve never watched Despicable Me.