Cheerleaders for the NFL’s Oakland Raiders have filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court claiming that the team perpetrated wage theft and unfair employment practices.
The suit, which was filed on behalf of current and former Raiderettes, alleges that the cheerleaders are paid $1,250 annually, which works out to less than $5 per hour.
"It's as if the Raiders' owners believe that the laws that protect all workers in California just don't apply to them," attorney Sharon Vinick told the San Jose Mercury News. "I have never seen an employment contract with so many illegal provisions.”
The lawsuit also claims that the Raiderettes are fined for things like not bringing a yoga mat to practice and wearing the incorrect workout clothes to rehearsal.
"The club controls our hairstyle and makeup, and we have to foot the bill," said lead plaintiff Lacy T. "We also have to pay the costs for traveling to all kinds of events, including photo shoots... I love the Raiders and I love being a Raiderette, but someone has to stand up for all of the women of the NFL who work so hard for the fans and the teams."
The team also withholds pay until the end of the season, in violation of California law requiring regular pay periods.
The suit seeks compensation for minimum wages, overtime and other expenses.
"I've been dancing for 16 years, and I was paid more for dancing in college than I am as a pro cheerleader," said 27-year-old Lacy T. "I'm a stay-at-home mom, and every dollar out of my pocket is noticed. I hope cheerleaders across the NFL will step forward to join me in demanding respect and fair compensation."
[San Jose Mercury News] [San Francisco Gate]