NFL Cheerleader: We Are Paid Less than $5/hr and Docked Pay if We Gain 5 lbs.
The Oakland Raiders pay their cheerleaders less than $5 an hour, fine them for minor infractions, dock them pay for gaining as little as 5 lbs., saddle them with unrecompensed expenses and don't pay them Dime One until the season is over, a Raiderette claims in a class action labor complaint.
Lead plaintiff Lacy T., a Raiderette, sued the Oakland Raiders in Alameda County Court.
"Raiderettes are required to attend all of the Raiders' preseason, regular season and postseason home football games," she says in the lawsuit. "They are also required to attend and participate in all practices, rehearsals, fittings, preparations, drills, photo sessions, meetings and workouts, as determined and directed by the Raiders." Raiderettes also have to attend other special events to represent the Raiders, without pay, Lacy says in the 23-page lawsuit.
For this, Raiderettes are paid a flat rate of $125 per game, or $1,250 per season, Lacy says.
The complaint includes her 6-page contract with the Raiders.
"I've been dancing for 16 years, and I was paid more for dancing in college than I am as a pro cheerleader," Lacy told the San Francisco Chronicle.
"I'm a stay-at-home mom, and every dollar out of my pocket is noticed."
Lacy claims in the lawsuit that that the Raiders do not pay the cheerleaders a dime until the end of the season, at which point the team often fines them a day's pay. The Raiders fine cheerleaders for wearing the wrong workout clothes to rehearsals, failing to bring a yoga mat to practice, losing pom-poms or not turning in biographies on time, she says in the lawsuit.
"If a Raiderette forgets all or part of the official uniform for a game day event, she will be fined and/or benched from the game," according to the complaint. A "benched" cheerleader is not paid.
If a Raiderette gains 5 pounds or looks "too soft," she may be benched and not allowed to perform, Lacy says in the complaint.
She claims that Raiderettes spend up to $650 per season in unreimbursed expenses, about half of their annual pay.
The Raiders do not reimburse the cheerleaders for travel expenses.
The Raiderettes are "required to use a hairstylist selected by the Raiders," which can cost several hundred dollars, Lacy says in the complaint.
The cheerleaders' cosmetics sponsor provides five free products at the beginning of the season, but if they run out, they have to buy more cosmetics with their own money.
Just before Lacy filed the lawsuit, the Raiders presented her and the other Raiderettes their year's pay of $2,780 for the 2013-2014 season, Lacy says.
She seek damages for failure to pay minimum wage, failure to pay wages in a timely manner, unlawful deduction from wages, failure to pay overtime, failure to provide wage statements, "unlawful prohibition on discussing wages," failure to reimburse expenses, and other claims. She also wants costs of suits and an injunction prohibiting the Raiders from continuing their unlawful practices.
She is represented by Sharon Vinick with Levy Vinick Burrell & Hyams.