CINCINNATI, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader Alexa Brenneman, who worked as a dancer for the so-called Ben-Gals from last May to this January, has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of her squad mates.
She claims in the suit that Ben-Gals make about $90 per home game, but are not paid for all of the work they put in at mandatory practices and public events. According to Brenneman's defense team, her pay rate comes out to $2.25, below Ohio's $7.85 minimum wage.
"The Ben-Gals cheerleading program has long been a program run by former cheerleaders and has enjoyed broad support in the community and by members of the squad," the rep for the Bengals said in a statement. "Yesterday’s lawsuit appears to be a copycat lawsuit that mimics the one filed last month in California against a different NFL club. The Bengals will address the litigation in due course."
Brenneman was reportedly inspired by a similar suits filed by Oakland Raiders cheerleaders, known as the Raiderettes.
"It gave her the courage to stand up for the squad," Brenneman's attorney said of the two ongoing Raiderettes suits.
The Raiderettes who filed suits said that they get paid $125 on game days, work days that can last up to 10 hours. They also start working in April and don't receive payment until the following January.
"They're don't that if they don't like it, 400 women will take their place," said Leslie F. Levy, who represents the two Raiderettes. "It's like a sisterhood and they're told, 'Don't break the ranks, this is an honor.'"
[WKRC, NBC Bay Area]