As fresh evidence appears against Epsilon, Edge CEO and Sports lawyer Adam Whyte looks at options for unpaid players.
I don’t have a contract, does that mean I’m never going to get paid?
OK, you’re a gamer and you’ve been working for a team without a contract. This doesn’t mean you have no claim to compensation. However, you need to establish that there was an offer, acceptance, meeting of minds and consideration, as detailed below:
Because you don’t have a contract, you need to establish a paper trail– this could be emails showing that there were salary negotiations, or tweets indicating that the team agreed to pay the player a certain amount- both of these would show offer and acceptance etc.
Verbal contracts are also binding. The trickiness here is that you need to have witnesses, to be able to prove that such an agreement was formed. This could be as simple as having one other person present at the coffee where you agreed to join to the team.
Circumstantial evidence: this could be the fact that you updated your socials to reflect your new position as part of the team, the interactions the team had with you on social channels, or that your streams now have team-related overlays.
In this situation, the best thing you can do is engage with someone with legal expertise and an understanding of the esports industry. Companies like Edge are well-suited to give gamers quality, sound and affordable legal advice on what their legal recourse is in a multitude of jurisdictions, thanks to their in-depth knowledge of the industry and network of quality law firms.
PS: tempting as it might be, don’t take to twitter and harass or defame the team that owes you money.
So I’m meant to sit in silence and just keep not being paid?
Twitter or other social media tirades won’t help your case. However, well put-together public statements can be helpful, both to draw attention to your case and to encourage the public pressure that can help teams to respect the terms of the agreement.
I have a contract but I’m still not being paid what I’m owed. What should I do first?
Send a letter to the party (team) that you think are in breach of contract. This should lay out the facts, attach any documentation you have (exchange of emails/ DMs/ tweets, anything that proves there’s a professional link between you and the team). Give the team a reasonable amount of time to respond (14–30 days).
I’ve sent this letter to the team to no avail. What can I do next?
If they don’t respond to this letter, send a second letter threatening legal action. You and your lawyer then need to make sure you know which jurisdiction you need to be making your claim in (all contracts are valid under different jurisdictions, and this will be clearly stated in your contract). Your lawyer will help you take your case to court.
I don’t have lots of money to fight this- does this mean I don’t have any recourse?
Not at all. There are plenty of companies and platforms that can assist with the provision of legal resources. They will either do it:
Win on fee: they back your claim and then take anywhere from 10–25% of the won fees.
Pro bono: lawyers take your case for free, out of goodwill and for the protection of the player involved in the case.
Both of these are options Edge would explore for any player, so if you have had a contractual mishap we recommend you get in touch with us so we can provide you with legal services at an affordable rate.