Golden State Warriors' Unfair Job Practices Lead to Settlement

Joel CreagerCorrespondent IJanuary 16, 2010

DENVER - JANUARY 05:  Andris Biedrins #15 of the Golden State Warriors warms up prior to facing the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on January 5, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Warriors 123-122. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

From the onset of the "We Believe" era the Golden State Warriors began what was perhaps their biggest ticket drive ever.  Finally the team filled their new arena on a consistent basis, raised the price of tickets and could expect extra revenue from creating an atmosphere so conducive to national television.

We all know what happened between then and now.  Poor decisions or acquisitions from the top, rampant injuries and a brand of drama unique to the Warriors effectively tainted any vestige of the glory days.

Even with the economy in such a sorry state the fans in the Bay Area continue to support their NBA halfway house. 

Team president, Robert Rowell, went so far as to tell a group of season ticket holders that "you were screwed."   Naturally this caused me to ask myself, "Who did the screwing?"

As it turns out those post "We Believe" season ticket holders weren't the only ones that got screwed. In not so surprising fashion, the Warriors weren't giving employees their promised piece of the pie.

This seems to be turning into a common theme for the Warriors, who already settled past contract disputes with former coach Eric Mussleman, and current coach Don Nelson.

In spring of 2008 five Season Ticket Account Executives filed a joint civil action against the Golden State Warriors for unpaid commissions, overtime wages, and unfair business practices. 

*Interesting side note: Each plaintiff states that when they were promoted to "Account Executive" status they had no executive duties.  Job seekers beware.

Arbitration was long and arduous with one plaintiff having this to say in their legal filings,

"I was also still an employee of the Golden State Warriors for about a year during the suit. During that year, I was exposed to intimidation by the Golden State Warriors and harassment by other employees and discussions taking place with management behind my back.  I put my own earnings at risk on behalf of the class in that the Director of the Department controlled the referral of calls to the sales staff, including me."

The suit was settled this fall to the tune of $171,000 in lawyer fees and $454,000 to the plaintiffs for a final count of $625,000.

Also note that the Golden State Warriors amended their employee handbook and claimed that the change was not motivated by the lawsuit.  Any Season Ticket Representative that worked for the Warriors between April 2004 and December of 2007 is candidate for inclusion in the class action suit.

While $625,000 may pale in comparison to Chris Cohan's $160 million tab owed to the IRS (a tab Ric Bucher claims must to be paid soon), the incident provides an insightful illustration of the corporate environment cultivated at 1011 Broadway.

Business as usual for Rowell and Cohan, and everyone is getting screwed.

*Names of Plaintiffs are excluded for their privacy.  Any inquiries for documentation will be directed to the public domain where all information was found.