Caddies Lose Lawsuit v. PGA Tour

Caddies who work for the PGA Tour filed suit a year ago, in Federal court in California, for being forced to wear corporate logos on bibs and becoming ‘human billboards’. The lawsuit also stated that the PGA threatened to prevent the caddies from working if they did not wear the bibs.

The Court dismissed the lawsuit saying that the contract between the parties allowed for the PGA Tour to decide how the caddies were to dress. However, United States District Judge Vince Chhabria stated: “The caddies’ overall complaint about poor treatment by the Tour has merit, but this federal lawsuit about bibs does not.”

Gene Egdorf, Houston-based attorney for the caddies, had tried to negotiate with the PGA prior to filing suit, but he felt the PGA did not attempt to negotiate in good faith. The caddies merely wanted the PGA to give them a cut of the advertising revenue generated through the bibs, estimated at $50 million, for their retirement or health benefits. This is the reason the caddies formed the Association of Professional Tour Caddies two years ago.

In the dismissal, Judge Chhabria said: “Caddies have been required to wear the bibs for decades. So caddies know, when they enter the profession, that wearing a bib during tournaments is part of the job. In other words, the bib is the primary part of a caddie’s uniform.”

Now that the class-action lawsuit has been dismissed, each of the 168 caddies must decide individual whether to appeal. “I’m not overly surprised, but I am disappointed. I will strongly advise my clients to appeal, I like our chances in appeal,” said Gene Egdorf, the caddies’ attorney. It seems unlikely that any caddies will individual appeal the judgement. Instead, the caddies may be bringing forth another class-action lawsuit in the future for what they feel is poor treatment at work, Judge Chhabria has set the stage.

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