Wizards of the Coast Responds to Employment Lawsuit
Wizards of the Coast, the company behind the popular game Magic: The Gathering, is being sued by individuals who are claiming that volunteering with the company’s Judge Program constitutes employment. The program is used by the company to oversee the numerous events that go on every week.
Short version, the complaint is that these individuals are not being paid and that under California law individuals can not volunteer for a “for profit” company. You can read the lawsuit here.
Wizards of the Coast has responded to the lawsuit themselves.
A handful of individuals who have been Magic judges for many years recently brought two lawsuits against Wizards of the Coast alleging that participating in the Magic community as a judge equates to employment with Wizards. These lawsuits are meritless.
With the exception of the Pro Tour, the World Magic Cup, and the Magic World Championship, Magic events are run by tournament organizers and local game stores who directly engage judges. But these lawsuits claim that Wizards runs all events and that the people judging those events are Wizards employees. Anyone who has played at their local store knows this simply is not true.
Magic: The Gathering is fortunate to have the greatest community in gaming. Fans choose to become judges out of a sincere love of the game and as a way to enjoy their favorite hobby. They ensure events are fair and fun, and we appreciate everything they do.
We look forward to quickly resolving the matter. While we defend against these spurious lawsuits, we want to assure the Magic community that we will do everything possible to ensure that premier events continue to run smoothly. We thank the entire Magic community—players, organizers, and judges—for their continued support.
We’re still evaluating the lawsuit and will have more within the week. With some pretty big implications in geekdown, you better believe we’ll be following this one closely.