Former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders sue over pay

Five former members of the Buffalo Jills say the Bills organization violated minimum wage laws.
By Kate Stanton  |  April 22, 2014 at 10:03 PM
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BUFFALO, N.Y., April 22 (UPI) -- Five former members of the Buffalo Bills cheerleading squad, known as the Buffalo Jills, have claimed that the football team failed to receive adequate compensation for working at Bills games -- they were given a $90 game ticket and a parking pass.

The former cheerleaders have also said that they weren't paid for practices or reimbursed for business expenses, and that they were forced to participate in unpaid events -- like golf tournaments to casino shows.

“I’ve been a Bills fans my entire life,” one former Jill, identified only as Maria P., said in court documents. “To be able to cheer them on in front of 80,000 fans was a dream of mine since I was a child. That dream was taken advantage of by the Bills.”

The former Jills also alleged that they endured sexual harassment at certain events. In one instance, they were asked to wear bikinis and auctioned off as prizes.

"I could not go back because of the harassment and the way we were treated,” Maria P.said.

“I signed up to be a cheerleader,” she added, “not whatever you want to call that.

The plaintiffs' attorney, Sean E. Cooney, said the Bills just decided to start paying their cheerleaders minimum wage for the new season. His clients are seeking backpay with interest.

Cheerleaders from both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Oakland Raiders have filed similar suits.

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